The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Married to the Business - For Richer or Poorer



Mike and Lyn have their own business building homes. Mike is a registered with the Building Commission, and has a high level of technical skill, but Lyn is the person who manages the finances. She also knows the business is not as great as her husband tells everyone it is.


While she tries to explain to Mike the cashflow problems, he is not that interested as they always seem to be able to scrape by. Nothing gets Mike quite as excited as seeing his projects transform from the drawing board into bricks and mortar reality. He is the technician and a perfectionist. The clients love him.

Lyn is always worried about the cash on hand to pay their suppliers, their employees and sub-contractors, and if there is anything left over, themselves!. She is the Manager.

Now in a business where the partners are not in a personal relationship, this assignment roles can work perfectly well, but if you are married to the business, this can create problems.

Mike gets frustrated as Lyn is always telling him they are losing money on jobs and pushing him to return phone calls to enquirers and complete quotes when he should be on site. Lyn is frustrated as Mike spends far more time than she thinks he should to satisfy their clients’ every whim, and she does not understand enough of the technical details to see where they are going wrong. This makes it hard for her to challenge him. Often it is easier to just agree to keep the peace, but at the same time she can see that the business is not going anywhere.

Sometimes Lyn is so worried about her inability to get Mike to see what is wrong, and that it is affecting their relationship, she wants to let Mike run the business himself, and go out and get a job so at least they can have a better standard of living.

This story is an amalgam of many of my clients. To try to avoid stereotyping gender roles – it is not always the male that is the technician, but it is more common. Maybe it is also true that where the woman is the technician, she is more likely to ask for help on the business side. There I go again, stereotyping!

Over the coming months, I will look more closely at the special issues facing Lyn and Mike, and other couples who are married to the business.

If you are married to the business, please tell your story in the comments below or visit our Facebook page or website.

May Your Business this Year be - As You Plan It.

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and The Australian Business Coaching Club and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.

Married to the Business - For Richer or Poorer


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