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Business Tip: Owning a business if a full-time job

May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.


By Lisa Barr

As I sit here writing this article and wrestling my son away from the computer power cord, I'm reminded of all the entrepreneurs out there balancing work and family.

When a client comes to visit with me to plan starting their business, one of the questions I ask is, what about your family? Are they supportive of this venture? Can you be away from them for 12-16 hours a day? How supportive is your spouse?

The answers to these questions are important in order to make your business work. Just ask anyone already in business, they will say they work their tails off to make the business a success.

So what can you do to make sure your family and work life will mesh? Sit down with them and have an honest conversation about what you plan to do.

Talk about the time commitment it means for you. Also consider your personal values and beliefs. What is most important to you? Are you OK with spending the greater part of your days owning and operating a business? By owning a business, are you able to give your family the life you want for them and the life they want from you?

I attended the Chic-fil-A Leadercast event. It made me think of all the choices one makes in life.

Going into business is one of them. Staying true to yourself, your family, your employees and your core values is vitally important.

Patrick Lencioni, a speaker at the event, talked about choosing a few core values that your business stands for that makes you true to yourself. Then you stick to them, no matter what.

He talked about Chic-fil-A and their core value of staying closed on Sundays.

Lencioni said "You know it's a core value when you're willing to be punished for it." For instance, Chic-fil-A is "punished" with no revenue on Sundays because they are closed. The company maintains its core value of having that day off so their employees can spend it with family.

Even though Sunday is the second best sales day for fast food, being closed that day is their core value, it keeps them true to themselves.

So what are your core values of our business and how do you stay true to them?

To help understand the balance of work and family, I'm reading a book by another speaker from the event, Andy Stanley. The book is called "When Work and Family Collide." It talks about what or who you are willing to "cheat" in order to stay true to yourself and family. It's about who you choose to spend your time with and how you can balance your time with family, work, your employees and your customers.

Stanley believes that when you figure out the right balance, that keeps you true to your core values, then you can have a successful work and family life.

Hopefully, I've left you with some thoughts to ponder and some resources to tap into to help you with starting and operating your business and setting core values for your company and family. If you're at a loss for where to begin, ask an SBDC advisor to help you determine your core values, mission and company vision.

Lisa Barr is the senior business advisor at the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Corporation.

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