The Australian Small Business Blog: Married to the Business

Shaun H. Ruff


                     by Dr Greg Chapman

Luke and Anna have their own business building homes. Luke is a registered builder, and has a high level of technical skill, but Anna is the person who manages the finances. She also knows the business is not as great as her husband tells everyone it is.

While she tries to explain to Luke the cashflow problems, he is not that interested as they always seem to be able to scrape by. Nothing gets Luke quite as excited as seeing his projects transform from the drawing board into bricks and mortar reality. He is the technician and a perfectionist. The clients love him.

Anna is always worried about the cash on hand to pay their suppliers, their employees and sub-contractors, and if there is anything left over, themselves!. She is the Manager.

Now in a business where the partners are not in a personal relationship, this assignment roles can work perfectly well, but if you are married to the business, this can create problems.

Luke gets frustrated as Anna is always telling him they are losing money on jobs and pushing him to return phone calls to enquirers and complete quotes when he should be on site. Anna is frustrated as Luke spends far more time than she thinks he should to satisfy their clients’ every whim, and she does not understand enough of the technical details to see where they are going wrong. This makes it hard for her to challenge him. Often it is easier to just agree to keep the peace, but at the same time she can see that the business is not going anywhere.

Sometimes Anna is so worried about her inability to get Luke to see what is wrong, and that it is affecting their relationship, she wants to let Luke run the business himself, and go out and get a job so at least they can have a better standard of living.

This story is an amalgam of many of my clients. To try to avoid stereotyping gender roles – it is not always the male that is the technician, but it is more common. Maybe it is also true that where the woman is the technician, she is more likely to ask for help on the business side. There I go again, stereotyping! 

Learn more about how this couple, Married to the Business, transformed it into one that that delivered the lifestyle they desired.

May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!

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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia’s Leading
Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice
to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies
Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success
and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing

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