It’s been one year since my firm rolled out Godwin Start-Up School. By the end of 2015, we had 4 clients involved and we couldn’t be happier. We can see the impact we are making on not only the clients’ lives, but also in our community as these businesses begin hiring people and impacting more and more people. It’s the ultimate pay-it-forward and we’re so excited to be a part.
In the beginning, with the excitement of building something new and exploring this business about which the owner is extremely passionate, it’s easy to forget one very important part of this equation. It’s the spouse…the person not directly involved in building the business, but the person who is in a position to be the most supportive in the whole process or the biggest naysayer. Neither position is good or bad, but if the business owner is married, the spouse is involved, like it or not.
I recently had a meeting with a client in Start-Up School who respectfully requested that I sit down with him and his spouse to explain to her exactly what we were doing together. I jumped at the chance to do it, mostly because I don’t want to exclude a very important part of this new business. I was a little embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of it first, in fact. The meeting went so well, and I received one of the nicest compliments from the client after the meeting was over. I was able to allay fears, provide an explanation of our role in her life by virtue of working with her husband, and open the door for her to communicate directly with us should questions arise.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in a business, whether at the beginning or on day 2,468. As entrepreneurs, we are wrapped in a patchwork quilt of successes, failures, anxiety, elation, fear, strength, inspiration…you name it. The patches go on forever. As business owners, we can’t forget our spouses. They have real questions, real concerns, and a stake in this business’ success even though they aren’t providing the service or making the widget. These businesses provide funds to send a child to college, pay for a family vacation, provide care for aging parents, and establish savings accounts for grandchildren. The weight is heavy, and by involving the spouse we can help shift some of the burden to his/her shoulders and allow them to have a voice.
So, entrepreneurs, when you come in to meet with us through Start-Up School, don’t think we’re strange when we ask to meet with you and your spouse. It’s a family affair, whether you know it or not, and we’re missing valuable input if we exclude your spouse.
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