The support of a spouse is a huge factor in the success or failure of a business. The influence of your spouse has a direct impact on how inspired and effective you can be in a business, and in your romantic life. The person you’ll spend most of the time with can help or hurt your efforts to build a business.
Whenever a business idea is presented before a spouse, there is usually some resistance, even when it is clearly in the best interest of the family. It is not that your spouse is against your running a business while you do have a great business idea and sheer excitement of making a lot of money from it. There are often, certain issues that present a conflict of interest and lack of mutual understanding. Here are some of the reasons your spouse resists your business ideas and what you can do about it.
Time and Financial Commitment
Your Partner may be afraid to support your business idea because you might need to spend more time away from the family since running a new business requires huge amount of time commitment than the normal 9am-5pm job. Your new business may require your spouse taking on some new roles in the family thereby disrupting routines, forcing your partner to think, reevaluate and learn new skills.
Yes, your business will take time but it doesn’t have to take all of your time. There should be work-life balance. Work-life balance means making choices and trade-offs. Reasonable people figure out a perfect work-life balance plan that allows them to deliver enough of themselves to the workspace, to the family and to fun. Let your spouse understand that your idea of starting a new business will not create imbalance or hurt your love life.
Do you have enough money to live on while you start up? People are so engrossed in thinking about money for their new business that they forget to think about other important monthly expenses that must be covered while getting their business started.
If your business idea would make you entirely depend on your spouse financially for a lengthy period of time before income begins to show up, your partner may be scared of how to cope with such experience. It will be better to save some money for the startup cost to avoid complete disorientation of the family financial plan. This will alleviate the initial financial burden on the part of your spouse.
Lack of Ownership of an Idea
In his book Developing the Leader within You, John C. Maxwell wrote that, ‘When people lack ownership of an idea, they usually resist it even when it is in their best interest. They simply don’t like to be manipulated into an idea or feeling like pawns of the system’. Getting your spouse involved and asking their opinion about your business idea is very important. They might have skills and ideas of business startup that could complement yours, which can help to grow the business. You can even take that a step further and build a great business together with the love of your life
Let your spouse be part of ownership of your idea. Seek for your partner’s advice; explain your vision, long term goals and aspiration. Clarify how your business would give you freedom, financial security and add value to the family finances. Make a list of logical advantages and psychological impacts. Explain how you are going to pay back in case your spouse helps you secure loan and how you are going to discontinue the business in case it fails. If you fail, your spouse would end up bearing the entire burden of the financial upkeep of the family as your business fails to generate sales and profits.
Choice and Timing of Business
Your choice of business may not be compatible with your spouse’s value or the family value. For instance, you want to launch a business idea of running a restaurant and bar and it’s something that goes against the family value. This idea may be hard to sail through. Besides, your spouse may not just like certain businesses irrespective of whether they are compatible with the family value. Funnily enough, your partner may not have any genuine reason for opposing your idea. So it is important you make him or her realize what is important and what is not important.
Bringing up your business idea when your spouse is seeking for fund to complete a pressing project may not be the right time for your idea, so be sensitive of your timing. You could take advantage of opportunities that certain occurrences like downsizing, COVID-19 pandemic or global fall in the price of crude oil present to support your business idea. Some of the largest businesses were founded before, after or during deep recessions. From General motors and Disney to FedEx, IBM, Google and Saleforce. If you can make the case that your business idea could help solve problems and can help reflate the family economy, then you might be able to get the support of your spouse
Clarity of Purpose
Are you only interested in how much it will cost you to start the business and how much money you will make out of it? Do you have a genuine plan or task lists to get the business idea launched to the next level? Don’t neglect the key elements of the business idea such as financial plan, marketing plan and business operations. Your partner would love to hear you out on these sensitive issues. No spouse is interested in a vague business that is not clearly presented.
It is important you have a business plan of your business idea, stating the key elements, your objectives and the realization of your goals. Your business plan alone is an accomplishment. It’s part of your business idea implementation and a demonstration of your seriousness, competence, skills, and the knowledge of what is expected in the business as well as the challenges ahead. This will get your spouse to look into your business idea with much interest. Making a good presentation of your business plan is far better than just verbalizing your whole plan.
There are traits that every entrepreneur should have before going into a business without which you may not survive the entrepreneurship journey. These traits we have outlined in Critical Steps You Must Know Before Quitting as Employee to becoming Self-employed. Here we discussed the attributes of entrepreneurs that will help you understand your entrepreneurship IQ. Your spouse may suspect you may not have all its takes if you lack these attributes
Big Picture Thinking
If your spouse is such a person who cannot see the big picture, someone who is employed and sees a corporate world and lifestyle as the only way of life, believe only in wearing corporate tie, suit and carrying suitcase. Such persons may need to understand how small business becomes a giant enterprise that becomes a corporate world today. Your spouse may belittle your business, feeling that your certificate is bigger than the small business you intend to start. Your spouse may also resist your business idea, probably because you have other issues in your relationship that are speaking out through your frustration. It is important you make your spouse understand that the journey ahead is much more than monthly salary and the friction in your relationship. Let your spouse realize that in the event of rightsizing, layoff, downsizing, re-engineering or whatever it is called when you suffer job loss, your business may help to support the family as well as creating job for the children in the future.
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By Olusegun Solaogun
CEO: Firstway Bookshop