Oct 03 2011

For better or worse, richer or poorer

 If you’re not going to


marry your business,


don’t get engaged to it!

America’s abysmal unemployment situation has inadvertently spawned a burst of fledgling entrepreneurial enterprises. It’s been: “Outta work? So what. Who needs all that aggrevation anyway? I’ll start my own business.”


If you are caught up in this thinking, un-catch yourself! If you’re telling yourself you can start a little business and still work 9-5 with weekends, sick days, personal days, vacation, and holidays off, you might as well be living on Mars. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying don’t be disillusioned from the start.

Business Ownership

is a marriage.


If you’re not willing to accept the fact that you and your new business venture are going to have to eat together, sleep together and get along with each other 24/7 for a number of years, don’t buy an engagement ring, get down on one knee and pop the question –OR plan the wedding and fantasize the honeymoon–  to start with!

Even if the bantered-around figures that claim 9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 11 years (and don’t break even financially for 6 years) are only half right, consider your odds for success realistically.

Every new business idea  

is a great idea

before the doors open.


With a super unique product or service and a ton of investment money, with a brother-in-law accountant and an uncle lawyer and your spouse cheering from the sidelines, your chances for survival (nevermind success) are still practically non-existant if you are thin-skinned, hard-headed, inattentive or ungrateful, and that’s just for openers.

The attentiveness to detail, and to every single exchange with every single person every single day, plus the ultimate responsibility for paying every bill and returning every investment (plus a return ON every investment) that were none of your province or burden as an employee rest squarely on every business owner’s shoulders.

Spare yourself the agony of separation and divorce and probable bankruptcy if you’re thinking you can just gloss over or dismiss or delegate stuff and concentrate on sales or production or IT or some other aspect of your dream. The sad truth is that no successful entrepreneur can concentrate on any single aspect and make money.

Successful small business

owners and operators

concentrate on all of

what they’re doing

 . . . all of the time.


Operations, finance, sales and marketing, cashflow, legalities, IT, distribution, partnerships, collaborations, staffing, service,   innovation, creativity, leadership, suppliers, product and service knowledge, and industrial/professional/community relations are all equally important!

So, what was it that grandpa used to say? “Look before you leap!”??? If you’re intent on charging into your own business, do it with your eyes (and ears) open. Reality beats fantasy hands down. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health . . .

Of course if you’re not ready for marriage (or your hands are already full with the family you have), there’s nothing wrong with using your ambitions and skills to find another, and hopefully better, job than the one you’ve left behind that prompted you to think a business startup would be a piece of cake. It can be if you’re a baker!

 # # #

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Open Minds Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Aug 31 2010

Business Separation and Divorce

Feuding Families,


Combative Couples,


Peeved Partners  and


Belligerent Boards


Constant arguing, bitter and mean-spirited discussions, “business infidelity,” resentment, continuous bickering and back-biting, breaking trust and undermining confidences, changing changes.

. . . I want out and it’s time to go!


Or, as the renown Scottish farmer/poet Robert Burns’ prophesied in 1786 with his “Ode To A Wee Mouse” in what may be the world’s most quoted and paraphrased bits of advice: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.” (often go awry, or wrong)   


How can you continue with the financial problems? The Mission and Vision disagreements? Operational differences? Business expansion and “parenting” plans vs. consolidation?

Do your business and business relationships look increasingly fragile? Are partners distancing themselves? Does collapse seem imminent?

Divorce between married couples is now in the mainstream of American life, and unfortunately serves to set the table for acceptance at a business level. What else is a business partnership besides a marriage? And family business upheavals can be the worst of all because they frequently involve or contaminate marriage relationships that are the very underpinning of a business structure.   

And those who are caught in the middle typically suffer the most. In a couple marriage relationship, it’s the children. In a business partnership it’s the partner families, employees, employee families, investors, suppliers and vendors and last, but not least, the customers! Nor does the damage line always stop there. In many instances, a neighborhood, community, town, region, industry or profession can also be negatively affected.

Ways to patch things up:

Start with giving the other person or people involved the benefit of doubt. You got into this relationship because something was extremely positive. By re-focusing on whatever that was, you may find that existing differences can be easily reconciled. Isn’t it worth a try? Don’t you have a lot invested in each other? Wouldn’t it be easier to move the business forward if differences could be worked out than to simply part ways and have to start all over again?    

So here’s the plan:                             

  • If you can get past that first step of thinking, sit down and write out on paper with a pen, a statement of agreement to seek to resolve differences. Each principal involved in the dissension climate must be willing to do this.

  • Exchange copies of these statements without commenting or responding.

  • Plan a follow-up Q&A clarification discussion the next day (no rebuttals permitted) to review one another’s comments.

  • Plan an open discussion of the Q&A clarification discussion a week or so later.                                    

  • Next, and again something all involved must be willing to do: write out one sentence on paper that identifies exactly what you identify as the most critical problem.

  • Then each needs to write out clear specific improvements desired in the form of a goal statement that is specific, flexible, realistic, and has a due date. 

Or get professional counseling:

An “outside” consultant who is experienced and skilled in both business management and human relations can help each individual involved put her/his differences in writing, channel productive exchanges, and foster committed attitudes aimed toward working through the differences.

A professional can help set up a recovery path with a schedule for renewable  efforts, and a contingency exit plan that can serve to strike a balance and encourage renewed efforts to make things work. Many leadership training-based organizations can provide assistance in identifying and retaining qualified coach/counselors.

This is always a better solution-approach than slamming the door and walking out! And it just might work! 

 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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