Balancing your family and business
"Make sure your family knows they are your #1 customer."
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Hi, I’m Tegan Jones for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today we’re discussing how business owners can better balance their family and business commitments. Joining me is Melinda Emerson, SmallBizLady and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. Thanks for joining me, Melinda.
It’s great to be here again with you today, Tegan.
To be successful small business owners had to spend countless hours supporting the businesses they love. But I know that dedication can cut into the time they have left over to spend with their families. So, how can business owners strike the right balance between their personal and professional obligations?
Well, the number-one thing you’ve got to keep in mind when you’re an entrepreneur is that you have to set up your business so that it supports your family life, too. And one of the best ways to do that is really evaluate how your business is set up. So, for example you should consider establishing a home office so that you can stay home if one of your children is sick and still get work done. Make sure that that doesn’t always fall on your partner or spouse.
You should also try to make a habit of, maybe coming home for dinner every night. Even if you have to go back to the office after the kids are in bed or after dinner. Just try to set up some regular schedule. Something that your family can count on.
Also, make sure you carve out time for at least one family vacation a year. You need to make sure that your employees understand that your family is your number-one priority and what their boundaries are around calling you and interrupting you at dinner or something like that. Or if you make a habit of driving your kids to school every day, make sure that your family knows that they are your number-one customer.
That’s right. Finding ways to put your family first is really important. That can’t be overstated. Are there any guidelines that can help business owners do this more effectively?
Well, number one I think you should share your challenges and your successes with your spouse or your partner. It’s very important that you don’t bottle things up inside. You also want to make sure that your family can’t tell what kind of day you had based upon how you treat them. You can’t come home and kick the dog and yell at the kids because you didn’t get a contract that day. So by keeping communication open with your spouse and your family, that’s a great way for them to feel like they are a part of it. One of the great things you can do with your kids is give them small jobs in your business so that they can start to understand what your business is about and why mommy or daddy works so hard.
You should travel only when it’s absolutely necessary. Although you might prefer to meet face to face with customers, not every interaction has to be handled in person. So, you really need to gauge your client’s interests before you commit to investing time and money to travel. Because at the end of the day that is time away from your family.
And then focus on being present. If you’re picking your kids up from school or if you’re going to go out to the ball field and watch them play T-ball or baseball or something like that, you don’t want to be that parent that’s out there looking at their Blackberry. You want to make sure that when you are with your kids that they one hundred percent know that they have your attention.
That makes a lot of sense. So, once you’ve started working within the boundaries how can you make sure that both your family and your business associates are both satisfied?
First of all, you need to check in with your spouse and your family and ask them, “How’s Mommy doing? How’s Daddy doing?” You want to make sure that you are listening to how they feel. Secondly, make sure your staff is satisfied with your level of responsiveness when they need you to weigh in on an issue. The last thing in the world you want to do is have your business stop because don’t have time to get back to them. So, make sure that you also empower them to make decisions without you so that everything keeps moving forward.
That’s right. And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic today, Melinda. You’ve given us some great tips to help business owners balance their business commitments with a happy family life.
Thanks for having me, Tegan.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime we wish you continued success.