How starting a business can impact your Family
How does owning a business impact your family or friends? Hopefully for the better, but not always.
It is an essential thing to consider when you’re thinking about becoming a business owner for the first time.
Family is nowhere to be seen in the business plan
In your business plan you’ll work through important things such as identifying the problem you solve, determining your target market and the commercial elements of operating the business. For many people they want a business to improve their work life balance and they perhaps gloss over the potential changes to their life a business can bring.
An essential thing to consider when you’re thinking about becoming a business owner for the first time is how might it affect your family and friendship group. This topic is not often spoken of.
The effect may be positive, neutral, or worst-case negative.
This subject applies to all people with families and friends going into business for the first time. Age doesn’t matter either, so perhaps you are a young family or a grey entrepreneur-watch out.
Why are we covering the impact of business ownership on family and friends?
-Our personal experiences as mentors and in business owners means we know how real this is. We have lived through these issues and seen other people faces challenges too.
-The stress and pressure of business ownership can lead to problems at home.
-In our experience, people don’t predict or plan for this enough. Preparing for this impact doesn’t appear in a business plan, but we say it should!
-The key is to prepare yourself, your friends & family as you don’t want to be surprised.
-The effect of owning a business may be positive, negative or neutral, but those relationships will change.
A business life cycle has four main stages.
As we know, businesses evolve through several stages in business life cycles. In general, after starting, you are going to be in one of those stages.
We will use four stages for this discussion, such as:
Each stage has its own set of challenges, stresses and pressures that can impact your family life.
Some potential affects on family relationships during a business startup stage
- The unknown is exciting but can also cause stress due to the feeling of uncertainty, especially if you are used to stable employment and income
- Time pressure is big because there is so much to do, and then some!
- A lot of hours working which means less time spent with family and friends.
- So many new things to learn, and they all take longer because they are new to you.
- Seed money or borrowings that you put into the business might mean sacrificing other things like a holiday.
- The first couple of months may highlight that running a business isn’t easy as things don’t go to plan.
- Money concerns will cause pressures if income isn’t matching expectations or your business plan.
Once you are several months in, some other things might appear.
- You may need to put more money in to fund your business growth.
- Your income may still not be to the level you expected or need.
- The excitement has worn off a bit and is it becoming a bit of a grind.
- You have less quality time with your partner or friends.
- You have less quality time with the kids.
- Maybe you are getting tired?
During the business lifecycle growth stage, other challenges to your relationships can appear.
- As your business grows, you are likely to employ staff which will almost inevitably cause some stress sooner or later.
- Growing businesses need more sales which means more marketing.
- You made need to engage outside experts, which can be costly.
- If your business is expanding to other locations, there may be a need to be away from home.
When the business lifecycle reaches a plateau, some unforeseen challenges to your relationships might manifest.
- The plateau is a gradual change that sneaks up on you.
- You may find that worry starts to creep in as to “why aren’t we growing?”
- There may be a need to throw extra cash at the problem.
- Any staff issues seem to become even more pressing. Remember not to be too friendly with staff as you might need to make objective and difficult decisions about them.
The business lifecycle decline stage is inevitable unless you can pivot in time.
Most, if not all businesses, will experience a period of decline at some stage. Perhaps it might be caused by changes in the market, your competitiveness, a change in technology, etc. Currently, of course, we’re all living through a period of massive uncertainty due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Hopefully, you can turn the decline around with the appropriate action, so it only becomes a temporary downturn. Sadly, many businesses never recover from the initial period of decline, and they eventually fold.
Symptoms of the decline
- Sales revenue starts to fall month on month for several reasons.
- Your business costs continue to rise and need cutting to match your decline in sales income.
- Regrettably, you may have to make decisions around letting staff go.
- Your work hours increase as you attempt to correct the situation by working harder.
- The daily fight wears you out as it’s relentless.
- You may bring those troubles home.
- Your reduced business profit may mean a financial impact on your earnings and lifestyle.
- Business ownership can be very lonely because nobody understands unless they have lived through this stage.
How does business pressure affect family, friends and relationships?
Some of the effects can creep up on you.
It starts perhaps with cancelling an outing or seeing the kids play sport at the weekend. It can become a real problem very quickly if you repeat this.
Tell-tale warning signs are:
- Getting home late every day and working weekends.
- Missing family functions due to working.
- Your kids are asleep when you get home, and you may not see them awake for days.
- You can’t afford the same spending on birthday presents or Christmas presents.
- Fewer, if any, holidays for some time because of the lack of money or time.
How do I prepare for these impacts on family?
Always ask yourself, “Am I the best mother, father, spouse or friend, I can be at the moment.”
Some of the ways you can minimise the effects on family and friends from the demands of running a business
- Learn to prioritise.
- Learn to delegate effectively once you have staff.
- Do whatever you can do to avoid becoming a micromanager.
- Get some help early if you see any of this becoming a problem.
If you are thinking of starting in business or indeed if you already have one, think deeply about the demands of running a business and how they might affect those around you.
Then create a plan around how you might mitigate the possible impacts. That might include setting aside time that must never be allocated to the business.
- plan a date night with your spouse or partner,
- a night at the pub with friends,
- every Sunday afternoon with the kids
– whatever it is, put “a wall” around that time for them.
Listen to your family and friends if they have any genuine concern about you. Sometimes others can see a change in you before you can recognise a change in yourself.
Business can be fantastic.
When things are going really well, the effect can be great – more money, more time, better lifesty but, it takes time to get there.
Protect your family relations and friendships through business planning.
If owning a business negatively impacts your family or friendships, then it rather defeats the object.
Plan how you will look after these vital relationships as part of your business planning.
Treat your Health & Wellness as a key part of your life and not secondary to your business success.
Try our our Entrepreneur Personality Quiz for more ways on preparing yourself to be a successful business owner.
The information contained in this podcast is general and does not take into account your situation. The content does not constitute business, legal or financial advice and should not be used as such. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where applicable, seek professional advice from a financial adviser or lawyer in your jurisdiction. To find out more, please go to www.ShouldIOwnABusiness.com