When the entrepreneurial engine cranks into motion at your house, make sure your family is prepared for the ride of their lives. Here are a few tips to help you meet the challenge of launching your first business:
1. Agree early on about the division of business and family duties between spouses. Discuss the decision-making structure ahead of time (including veto power), suggests psychologist Pat Hudson, Ph.D., author of The Solution-Oriented Woman (W.W. Norton). Agree on which areas each of you will oversee.
2. Set aside time for family rituals. Let the family know they can count on family breakfasts on Sunday, for example, or Saturday night pizza. "Even though my father worked 10 to 12 hours a day, I still felt like he had special time for me," explains Hudson. "Rituals help families feel intact and together, even when a lot is going on."
3. Hold family meetings to formulate both family and work goals. Susan Silver, author of Organized to Be the Best! (Adams-Hall Publishing), suggests discussing two types of goals: "Set goals to attainthings, such as making `x' amount of dollars or selling `x' amount of widgets, and goals to maintain things you already have, such as a wonderful family relationship or marriage."
4. Agree that there are certain times when work won't be discussed. "Often there's a blurring of work and home, which can be both a blessing and a curse," says Silver. "Create spaces in your week where you turn work off."
5. Get organized. Silver defines a good organizational system as "using the right habits plus the right tools." Once you have such a system in place, she adds, "you can reduce the [headaches] that arise from the normal logistics of everyday living."
Show Me The Way
By Natasha Emmons
You can't buy experience, but you can get it for free through the Small Business Administration's Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). About 12,400 working and retired executives volunteer their time at the 389 local SCORE chapters nationwide to help guide new entrepreneurs through the sometimes-bumpy territory of starting a business, including developing a business plan, securing financing and managing business growth. SCORE volunteers come from such notable companies as Eastman Kodak, General Electric, IBM, and Procter and Gamble.
Confidential, one-on-one guidance through rough terrain like accounting, finance, marketing, engineering and retailing can be found through the organization's Web site. Recently established e-mail counseling matches mentors to entrepreneurs seeking help.
You can also benefit from SCORE wisdom through local workshops such as "How to Set Up a Home-Based Business" and "Let's Talk Business About Your Business." The workshops cost between $20 and $75 to attend, depending on your area of the country. Workbooks designed to help you map out your business and financial plans are also available through SCORE. So lace up your boots, grab your guide and hit the entrepreneurial road. Check out SCORE's Web site at http://www.score.org or call (800) 634-0245.
Adams-Hall Publishing, (800) 888-4452
Pat Hudson, Ph.D, 5111 Shadow Glen Dr., Grapevine, TX 76051, (800) 234-4076
Susan Silver, (310) 207-7799