As a franchise coach, I often see situations in which one spouse wants to open a business and the other is hesitant or even downright opposed to the idea. Every relationship is different and it’s up to each individual couple to decide what is best for their family, but sometimes it helps to have a conversation about why your partner is opposed to the idea of business ownership in the first place. This will open a door for understanding and perhaps you’ll even be able to come to a compromise in terms of your career goals as a couple. No one wants to see their spouse give up on their dreams. The key is finding a way for both of your dreams to coexist in harmony.
Why your spouse may not be supportive.
There are many reasons your spouse may not support your desire to become a business owner. They may be afraid that you will lose money, or that you will lose much of your time spent together. They may be worried about failure — especially if you or another family member had a problem with a previous business investment. Or they may not think it’s a necessary step in your career path. This can stem from feeling like you are financially ready to retire, or they may simply have a different vision of your future together.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important to talk about it together as a team. The vast majority of the time, your spouse’s concerns are fear-based and not some malicious desire to squash your dream of becoming a business owner. There are several ways you can address the issue, but all involve support and communication.
How to reach a solution.
Communication is the key to success when it comes to finding a compromise for you and your family. Before any decisions are made, you must find a time to talk with, and more importantly, listen to, each other. Explain why becoming a business owner is important to you, and why you think it’s an important step for the family as well. Not only listen to your spouse’s concerns, but acknowledge them as legitimate worries and consider the fact that your spouse could be right. Ask if they would consider opening a business if steps are taken to ensure their fears won’t come true. Fear is driven by the unknown and one easy way to make your spouse feel more comfortable is by letting them become involved in the due diligence process. Let them speak with the franchisor and other franchisees and visit a location together so they can feel more comfortable about the decision to buy a business. Together, discuss how you might build safety nets to protect against all the unknowns.
If you do come to a consensus about business ownership, be sure that your communication doesn’t stop there. Becoming a business owner is no easy task, and continuing to support each other is vital to your success. Continue to share your thoughts with each other throughout the process of becoming a business owner and then still while running your business. Build a Common Vision Document together, as outlined in Step One in “The Franchisee Workbook,” to help you become excited about your future together and your goals as a couple.
Related: Starting a Business: The Idea Phase
Not everyone will be able to gain the support of their spouse. This is something you’ll have to work through together as a couple, and no one else can reach the answer for you. While businesses tend to be more successful when both spouses are supportive of the idea, there are always solutions that couples can reach if they communicate effectively and remain supportive of each other. If business ownership is truly your dream, help your spouse to understand. I wish you luck.