Sharing is caring...or so the saying goes. But what happens when the love of your life also wants to share in your business ownership journey? Will owning and running a business together be a sweet experience or is it a recipe for relationship meltdown?
"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." ~Steve Jobs
The motives can be as diverse as their individual personalities. Some couples have spent their entire careers apart, one raising children while the other
earned income. Now they’re entering a new chapter and would like to spend it together. Perhaps they have a burning desire to build a legacy business
to pass on to future generations. For others, high-stress corporate roles meant travel and too much time away from home. They simply want to achieve
a better sense of balance. Many view franchise ownership as a chance for an exciting new journey, often in an unfamiliar industry. Reasonably, their
idea of entrepreneurship may seem a little less scary when approached with a significant other you love, respect and trust.
“It all starts with respect”, says Skip Plesnarski. Atlanta franchise owners Skip and Nancy Plesnarski of 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon have been married 43 years and have spent the last three starting, running and growing the #1 location in their brand.
What’s the secret sauce?
I asked Skip and Nancy about working side-by-side after decades of marriage and separate corporate careers. “Through the years, we developed our own individual interests and pursuits”, Nancy explained. “So when our professional circumstances changed, we sat down together and set clear goals, financially, personally and for our future”, said Skip. “We knew we were not ready to retire, but we also knew we didn’t want to return to the corporate grind, so we developed a plan to apply our wealth of knowledge and skills to running our own business.”
And run it they have! They’ve been so successful in their endeavors that Nancy has accepted a seat on the board of her local Chamber of Commerce and Skip has been tapped to mentor new 18|8 franchisees.
They attribute much of their success to clearly defined roles and optimal use of their complementary skill set. Nancy is the marketing guru. She loves networking and community outreach (she’s been dubbed the “Mayor of Town Brookhaven”). Skip is all about operations, human resources and the financials. “I’m not sure it would work if you both always wanted to do the same thing all the time,” explained Nancy. “It works because we have areas of the business where one of us is clearly the decision maker.”
Of course, it’s not always teddy bears and roses. “Disagreements happen, but we keep the lines of communication open, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining highly qualified staff.”
Franchise owners Stefanie and Craig Miller are married with three children. They chose a semi-passive business model to fit their personal and professional goals. While they each kept their corporate careers, they started and each have a role managing their Units Moving and Portable Storage franchise in Smyrna, GA. According to Craig, “to be a successful business owner, put your ego on the shelf.”
Going into business with a family member is quintessentially American and hardly a new concept. In fact, Harvard Business School statistics reveal at least half of all companies in the United States are family businesses.
This year, my father and I will celebrate our 18th year helping people just like you find their perfect business. Contact me to discover how find your passion through business ownership.
Leslie Kuban is the owner of FranNet; an Atlanta based Franchise Consulting Firm. Kuban and her team offer more than 60 years combined franchise industry expertise and her personal experience as a franchise owner gives her a unique perspective to help her clients assess their real opportunities, risks and timing to make sound decisions about buying a franchise opportunity. Kuban is a guest lecturer for MBA, and EMBA programs at Emory, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University and is a founding member of the Georgia State University Franchise Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
In 2016, Kuban added Amazon bestselling author to her list of accomplishments when she joined a rare collection of business notables to co-author “More Than Just French Fries”, a collaborative work on successful business ownership through franchising.
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