6 Ways to Prepare Your Relationship Before Starting Your Business
Many entrepreneurs don’t prepare their relationships for the stress of bringing a new business into the world.
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No, I'm not talking about a new baby, I'm talking about your new business.
One of the first things I learned in Marriage and Family Therapy school was the addition of a child is one of the biggest stressors a couple can face. While it may seem odd, entrepreneurs face many of the same relational stresses as those of new parents.
The end product of a successful startup should not be the demise of your relationship. All too often it is.
When a coaching client shows me a new business plan, I ask; "Have you prepared your relationship for this?"
The biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make don't happen at the office, they happen at home in not preparing their relationships for the vagaries of bringing a new business into the world.
I ready the entrepreneurs I coach, in the same manner, I ready the couples in my therapy practice who are expecting a child. Here's what I tell them:
1. Proactively inc-aseann.communicate.
Startups are stressful on relationships so I get couples talking early and often in the months before launch about their thoughts, feelings, fears, and expectations.
Entrepreneurs face the possibility of failure almost daily. Along with their own financial well-being, they report feeling responsible for the well-being of their employees too.
Establishing good inc-aseann.communication before the onslaught of stress is key to success at home and at work.
Akin to reason one, the best inc-aseann.communicator is the best listener. When stress is high, it's difficult to drop our defenses and listen, when we do, the people we are inc-aseann.communicating with feel heard and cared about.
Being a good listener is a skill that also translates to work and is key to success with employees and clients.
3. Have a date night.
A chief inc-aseann.complaint for couples opening a business is lack of time together. The go-to is often date night to get some well-needed quality time.
Scheduled with the best of intentions, they are an incredible tool for connection. However, after a few dates frequency tends to fall off.
For couples starting a business, date nights are not a luxury, they are a necessity, to keep their relationship healthy. Date nights need to be a regular occurrence especially in the time leading up to opening. They don't have to be expensive, they just have to happen.
4. Check your expectations.
Couples should use the time pre-launch to talk about their expectations post-launch. This is especially true of finances.
90 percent of startups fail. This most certainly translates into financial hardship at home.
I tell the parents in my practice the littlest person in the house owns the most stuff in the house. You are now accounting for the financial needs of an entirely new person.
A new business has the same effect on your wallet. The difference is your friends and family probably won't throw a new business shower to get you started.
Successful couples in business mitigate their fears and stress around money by readjusting their expectations to fit the new circumstances.
5. Have sex.
Sex creates connection and releases a host of chemicals in the brain including oxytocin, the love hormone. When oxytocin is exchanged, it strengthens the bonds between people.
Entrepreneurs report that sex is often a casualty of owning a startup. When time together and cash flow are at issue, sex can decrease. Your new business will tire and stress you out. If we put lack of time together with a squeeze on the wallet you can bet you won't be in the mood for an impromptu roll in the hay.
In the months leading up to opening, if everyone is on board, have more sex. Get as much in as you can before time and energy are taxed.
6. Be grateful and show empathy.
With the addition of a child, roles can shift and the division of labor in the home can change. These transitions are typically difficult for couples to navigate.
The same can also be said for couples starting new businesses. When one partner's time and energy is diverted to the new venture the other is often left to pick up the slack at home.
If the role shift is taken for granted and goes unacknowledged resentments build.
A little gratitude can go a long way. Studies show that couples who say thank you tend to have fewer resentments and more relationship satisfaction.
Likewise, empathy breeds inc-aseann.compassion and understanding for another's experience. Working in tandem gratitude and empathy are powerful tools in keeping entrepreneurial couples connected.
Launching a new business is hard on a relationship. The entrepreneurs that inc-aseann.come to me are usually one marriage wiser looking to make sure their new relationship doesn't meet the fate of their old. Business or baby can steal focus from our partner's and put our connection to each other in question. Practicing mindfully leading up to launch can mean the difference between success or failure both at work and at home.