How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Starting a Business Starting a new business can be a major strain on you and your marriage. Use these tips to make your transition a smooth one. BY ANNE LEEDOM
Starting a business can be a big leap of faith, don't add to the stress by ignoring your marriage.
Youíve discussed it with your spouse and weighed the financial pros and cons. Youíre both excited and youíre ready to spread your entrepreneurial wings with your great new service. However, when it comes to really putting all the pieces in place, there may be some uncertainty of exactly how to start. Here are some easy first steps couples can take, along with mistakes to avoid, when they step off into entrepreneurship.
1. Work with people who have a proven track record. All too often we want to work with friends or referrals, and in many cases that means two things: You will be working with people who will not charge you huge fees, as they are "helping you," and you will often be working with people who donít know your product, market and specific demographic to get you where you want to be. Invest the time and money to find at least a few people who have the track record and expertise to make the process as painless as possible. If your spouse has some free time, ask them to help. Chances are they are fully aware of what you will need as they are the ones who have been by your side during the entire process.
2. Youíre in charge, so act like it. When you involve other people, especially your spouse, in the project you need to be comfortable in the role of being the boss. You have to make the hard choices and be comfortable calling the shots. Itís great to get other peopleís input and expertise, but ultimately if you are in charge and you need to act like it. People rely on your confidence and belief in your product or service and that strength is what will propel you toward your ultimate goal.
3. Be willing to change directions. You can have a great road trip mapped out, but when the blizzard hits, only fools forge ahead to certain death. It might sting a little, but a shift in direction might make the difference between the success of at least part of your dream or the death of all of it.
4. Celebrate small victories. You have worked hard, you probably havenít slept much and you have sacrificed many things, including pieces of your marriage, to push toward your dream. When you accomplish even a small victory, take a break and breathe in the moment. Connect and share the success with your spouse. These achievements are important and they reveal a lot about one anotherís journey in reaching the ultimate goal. You may or may not get there, but enjoying the journey is just as vital as enjoying the final reward.
5. Keep your perspective. Itís all about balance after all. You don't want to become one of those successful people who have everything but a happy marriage. Having a dream, fighting for it and seeing it through are rare and valuable traits. However, knowing when to turn it off, take a break or possibly even abandon the concept for a period of time may all be part of the bigger picture. Iíve learned the hard way that no matter how much we may want something in this life, itís not always up to us. So do your best, give it your all, then step back and let fate take its course. You always want to be on top of your projectÖ donít let it get the best of you or your marriage.
Anne Leedom is the founder of TeenPalz.com and Parentingbookmark.com. She is frequently quoted in national parenting and business publications. She lives in Northern California with her two daughters. For more information visit www.teenpalz.com.