Over the years, I’ve had a number of conversations about the idea that you can’t treat a family like a business, and you can’t treat a business like a family.
I agree with some of the points people have shared with me about this subject. It can be hard to be opened-minded about situations that arise in business if you treat employees like family members. You might find that you’re impartial, or not, in some of your judgement calls. Or you might find that you’re too soft or too hard when it comes to advancement or discipline decisions.
There are ways that businesses and families are similar, though, and two top fears that often arise when starting a new business or a new family. If you’re a decision maker in a business or a family, I hope these thoughts will help you make adjustments as you move forward in life.
Not knowing where to start
In business, you must ask many questions and try to find out answers on your own. You may read the manuals and download the information, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself frustrated and tired of being in the dark about what you don’t know.
When starting a family, men particularly have a hard time knowing where to start. I knew I had all the right answers — I just needed someone to ask me the questions. Little did I know that I really had no clue about where to start as a couple. While that’s no longer the case, my wife Maria and I continue to find and make our way forward together.
Tip: Find someone who has a history of being successful in business or marriage and spend a little time with that person, when you can, to stay ahead of the learning curve.
Not having money or capital
Even if you have the greatest plan for your business, or the latest hot idea to hit the market, you must have capital. It’s necessary to build your business, hire staff, and produce and sell a product or service. When Eddie started Tidewater Landscape Management, the primary capital he had was his retirement fund to purchase a truck and equipment. He started working and made it work. That was almost 40 years ago.
In a family, you’re never going to have enough time or money. You’ll always be looking over the monthly expenses to see what you can cut or do without. Money is one of the top causes of divorces in America. Don’t let the thinking “I owe it to myself or my family” be your answer to why you’re working 10 hours a day, six days a week.
Tip: Look into Dave Ramsey’s financial plan. Or follow the 10-10-80 budget, where 10% of your income is donated to charity, 10% goes into a savings account or investments, and 80% provides for living expenses.
With all the uncertainties of business and family decisions, it’s complicated to find a source of wisdom that will give you peace of mind in this world. Yet there is a book that has overcome the world and will give you peace of mind. It hasn’t been updated or changed for over 2,000 years. The book is the Bible, and it offers guidance on any subject.
Whether you’re a business owner or employee, a husband or a wife, will you read this book?