By Jim Phillips, XMI chief executive officer
Plenty of stories have been written on entrepreneurs who have given up everything to make their businesses successful. They built it, lived in the spotlight, earned the admiration and won the awards.
But at what expense?
It’s no surprise that neglect is among the top cited reasons for divorce among couples that include at least one entrepreneur. To grow a business, you give your all. But giving your all can have consequences for your personal life. Follow these tips to strike the right work-life balance and protect your family from the pressures of business growth.
Focus on your strengths
If you’re reconciling bank statements or running payroll after you put the kids to bed, you may have fallen into a trap that is common among business owners—taking on too many tasks, especially ones that fall outside your area of expertise.
The key to balancing business and family is spending your precious working hours exclusively on those things you do really well, or your key competitive advantage. Then, delegate everything else to another team member or a business process outsourcing company.
The result is more effective business growth, and greater “profit” for your relationships at home.
Get in budget agreement with your spouse
You wouldn’t take your investors a pitch deck without a detailed financial plan about how the company will pay its current obligations. So why would you leave your spouse out of the financial ramifications of starting and growing a business?
Your spouse is just as much an “investor” while you are getting your business off the ground. In some cases, this will require a reversal of the breadwinner role, and take-home pay drops considerably until the new business revenues can catch up. Your family, then, is investing through forgone earnings.
Put a family cash flow projection together for at least two years, maybe more. Agree up front on what expenses can be paid now, and which can be deferred. Make a commitment to the plan with your spouse and use it as a tool and reference guide over the course of the projection.
If you are ready to take a bigger risk, you may even want to show the big payoff of a liquidity event. If your spouse gets as excited as you do, you are on the same page, and that’s a good sign.
Show continuous appreciation
While you are out trying to change the world, or staging a late-night pitch, someone else is probably changing diapers, cleaning dishes and otherwise holding down the fort at home.
Tell your family how much you appreciate their investment and support. And show them you mean it with your actions to back it up by helping with homework when you can.
When they feel supported and appreciated, they’ll be better able to support and appreciate you. And the fact is you will need a ton of support from home to do your best every day.
In this amazing country of ours, almost everyone has the opportunity to craft a dream and grow a successful business. Now here’s your chance. Through relentless focus, budgeting and giving appreciation, the journey to the payoff will be incredible, and you can do it without sacrificing work-life balance and the relationships with those you love the most.