K+BB - October 2008 - (Page 68)

Practice Joint Effort Survive as a couple in business Many couples desire to work together, even when it means overcoming obstacles and challenges in addition to those typically faced by business owners. While those who do may understand how to sell a product or service, few couples have the necessary skills to run a successful company, which requires more than just opening up shop. In fact, a lack of planning can negatively impact not only a couple’s business but also their relationship. Following are some tips to ensure that both stay healthy. • Leave egos at the front door. There is no room for power plays in a family-run business or office. Maintain a harmonious environment for yourself and your staff members, even if it is just the two of you. Your harmony (or lack thereof) can greatly impact sales, customer service and productivity. You must be united in your efforts to succeed. Customers, employees, vendors and suppliers must see the couple working together. Bickering creates tension and makes the entire office environment toxic. • Hold meetings on a weekly basis. Make sure that you schedule weekly or even daily meetings at the office—not at home in the evenings. Use this time to discuss expenses, profit and loss statements, goals, problems you have or think you may encounter. Keep the talk constructive and aligned with carrying out the goals of the business. Nothing should be combative or argumentative. CREATING A PLAN • Set goals. Every business should have a written business plan. In the beginning, it may be only a couple of pages long, but consider it a work in progress that will be tweaked continuously as the company grows. There are basic items a plan must convey to avoid future conflict Maintain a harmonious environment for yourself and your staff members even if it’s just the two of you. between married couples. First, it should state the overall goals that you want to accomplish. Perhaps you want to grow your business from a local to a statewide company. Or maybe you dream of owning a franchise one day. Your overall goal is the main element in the business plan. Next, ask each other how you plan to let customers know you are open. What will you do to advertise and market your goods or services? • Delineate responsibilities. The plan should cover all of the responsibilities necessary to help make the company successful and outline the roles that each person will play. Together, decide who can best accomplish each task. For example, if your spouse is better at finance and numbers, let him/her be in charge of all accounting-related job functions and then respect them to make the right decisions. Once you’ve addressed all of the responsibilities, sit down together to determine a budget that will allow you to achieve all of the goals in your business plan. • Communicate effectively. Everyone has a different communication style. Pay attention to how you speak and listen to one another. Some people hear what you say but need a little time to process what was said, so be patient. If you have a disagreement, discuss the issues behind closed doors or at a nearby café. Nobody likes being told what to do by their spouse, especially when a third party is present. Avoid acting or appearing as if you are the boss of the other. Let each person state their opinion, and if possible, go back to the written business plan as a reference guide. GOING OUTSIDE Creating an outside board of advisors is wonderful for finding solutions and settling differences. Comprised of trusted people with different areas of business expertise, the advisory board can also serve as a sounding board for any issues or challenges that your business might face. You can meet with them as a group on a quarterly basis or oneon-one as necessary. A good mix would include a CPA, attorney, banker, marketing expert and someone retired from your industry. In addition, see if your Chamber of Commerce offers programs to help businesses grow, such as formal groups that meet and act as advisors. There are also private companies such as Vistage (formerly The Executive Committee) that have programs designed specifically for executives to get together in non-competing industries. Remember: At the end of the day, you are going home together. Try to keep things in perspective and leave the shoptalk at the office. By maintaining work-life balance, you can have a successful and happy business and relationship. s —Zelda Fraden is a consultant, speaker and entrepreneur who inspires others to flourish through adversity and reach greatness in business. For more on running a family business, check out “Family Footsteps” at www.kbbonline.com/children. 68 + K BB October 2008 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of K/BIS www.kbis.com http://www.kbbonline.com/children http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of K+BB - October 2008

K+BB - October 2008
Contents
Online Contents
Online News
Editorial
Feedback
Dates
Digits
Focus
Consumer
Trends
Products
Options
Profile
Design
Paradise Found
Graded on a Curve
Green
Access
Additions
Practice
Education
Editorial Index
Ad Index
Favorites

K+BB - October 2008

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