Starting a business and growing it can be the MOST amazing adventure for anyone. I've done it 4 times now, and each time its been an avalanche of adrenaline, excitement, opportunity, hustle, creativity, innovation and delivering the best possible service to keep customers.
The other side of that is late hours, exclusion of everything that is not business related, the endless 'I'll be there in a minute' comments to kids and spouse and friends, followed by that minute turning into an hour or even a day or week or months. The myopic focus on the new business and what it's doing is the same laser-like focus a first-time parent has on their newborn child. Conversations with first-time parents are usually limited to topics of sleeping, who the baby looks like, the birth, mum & dads pride and nothing more than the last 2 months of newborn activity.
Same goes for a new business. It's normal and natural and it's very much allowed. If the parents didn't focus in on the details the baby would die. Same for a start-up business. However, unlike most parents who have a toddler, then a child and then the teenager FORCE them to back off and let their baby become independent, I see business owners who NEVER move on from the intense control and focus on the new business, even when the business is 3, 5 and 10 and even 15 years old. They think they still need to be there 24/7. They feel that they need to be involved in everything, in case something happens. They are over committed to the business because they know it's the financial lifeblood for their family and all the staff working there as well. They have a deep commitment to making sure it all works. It's a very noble place to stand and... a very stupid one.
Most business owners I meet had a great idea, they started a business to meet a need and that also met their own needs to provide for their family. The trouble is, they have had their head and heart buried in the business and prioritized that over everything else for the last 10 years and now, their children are older, their spouse is now annoyed (or deeply angry and resentful) that the business has got more attention than they have over all of that time and the foundation at home is wobbly (yes I'm being generous with that word, its worse than wobbly, its usually an underground pit of seething resentment and frustration). Also, the business owner's health (mental, emotional and physical) is usually compromised as well as they have not gotten out of the office much for sunlight, laughter, play and exercise as they need to work. Sound familiar?
People wonder why after 10 years, businesses go out of business? Well, from what I've seen, they go out of business because the business owner's life has fallen apart and when he or she goes through a divorce, the business suffers greatly because the business owner's personal life has collapsed and the only other world they have is their business. So they storm through their business making poor decisions like a bull in a china shop and they usually kill the business by accident, blaming it on the divorce or their 'Ex'. When really, their only real friends are in the business (where they have spent the majority of the last 5-10 years) and when you blur the work/personal lines at work, it becomes VERY messy indeed.
Well, it doesn't have to end this way. I have helped many 'exhausted and stressed' business owners and their wobbly marriages turn it all around before everything breaks. They make the necessary changes in their business and personal lives so they can lead their business, live their life and love their family all at the same time. If you know of someone that's running themselves into the ground in their business and/or their spouse is suffering and extremely resentful from it, book in a session with me so we can get this sorted out before it all blows apart.
You can't put a broken business back together and you certainly can't put a broken marriage back together either. Let's talk before it all breaks!
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Who are you building it for?
Posted by Jen Harwood on