Do You Have Your Life Partner’s Buy-In for Your Business?

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

Reproduced from my weekly ezine LexAppeal:

Business partners come in different flavors, like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. There are active partners – the ones who are toiling at their desks and have rolled up their sleeves with you. There are silent partners — often the ones who have given your company a shot of well-needed capital, and hang back to see how well you grow their investment. And then there are the very silent partners – the ones who sit on the sidelines and watch your progress, with their hearts and hopes in their mouths. Those are your spouses, family, and significant others. Their support (or lack of it) can have a major impact on our businesses, too.

A tale of two business owners:

“Rose” had been working solo until she formed a company with a male business partner. She often worked late nights, and attended evening events and functions with her partner as a natural course of business. Rose’s husband, Arnie, was none too pleased, particularly because Rose had sprung the whole idea on Arnie. She didn’t ask for permission; she didn’t even clue him in on her thought process . . . and, frankly, he was uncomfortable with her always being out and “working late” with another man. To say that Arnie wasn’t supportive was a gross understatement. Eventually, his carping and complaining took its toll on Rose, who felt pressured to choose between her husband and her business partner. The business lost.

Contrast that with Jim, who treated his wife, Cheri, as part of his informal advisory board. Jim shared his plans and approach to his business partnership with her. He talked openly about the financial commitments and rewards. He arranged for partner/spouse group dinners so that everyone could get to know each other socially. As a result, Cheri provided Jim with unwavering support (even when business took a major hit), which eased the pressure on Jim to be far more productive.

Here are some tips to get your life partner’s backing:

  • If you’re thinking of going into business with someone else, share your thought process. How is this important to you as a career move? Why is this a growth opportunity for your personally?
  • Talk facts and figures. Carefully consider the effect that the business partnership will have on your personal financial situation.
  • Listen with ears open (and mouth closed) to any concerns raised about how the business venture will affect your family/lifestyle/finances/relationship

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