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Great Changes Ezine #13: Help for Related Business Partners
July 29, 2012

Encouraging Changes People Desire

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Issue #13: July 29, 2012

Helping Business Partners
Who are Related

"We've been married over 18 years and seemed so similar and compatible, but after we left our jobs and started a business together, now we're nearly broke and arguing most of the time." Unfortunately, this often happens.

Spouses/relatives working together are quite common today, as they grow tired of, or lose their old jobs. Many have dreams of success: working less, earning more, etc. We all know some fabulously successful family businesses, so we think: 'We can do that, too!'

First, Plan it Out Very Carefully: New businesses fail 80-90% of the time. Why?

* Very few people have ALL the skills necessary to operate a business. Employees who have worked at businesses usually specialized in one business area, while others handle all the other responsibilities.

* You've probably picked the wrong business partner. Ask yourself honestly: 'If I weren’t related to my partner, is this really who I would pick to be in business with?' The honest answer is typically "NO."

* Who's in charge? When you're living with your business partner, and you get upset with him at work, this will spill over to your home life, and vice versa. Arguing over money and control is all too common.

* Even if your business becomes financially successful, many people don't realize how much working with their spouse/relative will change the relationship, not always for the better. :-(

How To Approach a Personal
or Business Relationship

If you're already in business with a close relative/business partner, and have challenges that are difficult to overcome, here are five key steps to consider:

* Assess the Situation. Do a S.W.O.T. analysis, to assess your business Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are things within your control, whereas, opportunities and threats are market factors that are out of your control.

* Set Goals and Create an Action Plan: Then, prioritize your goals and determine the steps you need to take in order to achieve them. Each step should be specific, working to enhance your strengths while minimizing your collective weaknesses.

* Clearly Define Responsibilities. People should understand whom they report to, what their specific areas of responsibility are, what latitude they have to complete the job, etc.

* Improve Communications. Don't keep problems from each other to avoid arguments. "A stitch in time saves nine." It's typically important to have open and honest communications sooner, rather than later.

* Work with a Business Coach/Consultant. It's easy for business owners to say they're going to conduct their own SWOT analysis, set goals, define responsibilities, and communicate better. But it usually doesn't happen for many reasons. You know what they say about "good intentions"?

A Business Coach encourages positive changes in ways relatives often can't do on their own. Coaches have inherent advantages because they can view situations from a neutral, unemotional vantage point. Experienced coaches have been through these same situations with many others, giving them the confidence needed to provide the necessary guidance.

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Until next time,
Larry Rudwick

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