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The Delicate Balance of Work and Family Don't go walking out onto that start-up tightrope without the support of loved ones to steer you in the right direction.

By Karen E. Spaeder

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With another holiday season behind us, many of you will bejumping back into your start-up plans-jotting downbrainstormed ideas on a cocktail napkin, making phone calls,hitting the streets in search of potential customers. This is agood time to do it, before the January blahs have a chance to setin and suck away all your creative energy. At the same time, thisis also the perfect time to remember the time you just spent withfriends and family over the holidays-because whether or notyou realize it, you're about to have a tremendous impact ontheir lives.

When you're starting a business, you put much thought intothings like raising money, locating a target market, creating amarketing campaign and a business plan and talking with advisors.In that shuffle, friends and family sometimes get forgotten, whenin fact they really should be at the top of your list of concerns.Your friends and family are going to be greatly impacted by yournew business, regardless of whether they're directlyinvolved-i.e., lending you money-or whether they'resimply offering you moral support. As such, they deserve as muchattention as that business plan you're laboring over.

That doesn't mean you have to tell them everythingthat's going on in your business, and of course you'll takegreater care with the people you see every day (such as yourspouse) than those you only see over the holidays (such as GreatAunt Mildred). The idea is simply to discuss your impending planswith the people you're close to and involve them in anappropriate way. If you know your Dad offers good advice, tell himabout your idea-he might have some valuable insights. If youknow your Mom likes to call you every Saturday morning andthat's the one time you've set aside to work on that biginvestor presentation coming up, tell her about it rather thanhurrying her along when she does call. Above all, take the time toexplain to your loved ones that even though you won't have asmuch time to devote to them as you start and grow your business,you still love them and need their support.

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