The One Simple Secret to Helping Life Partners Become Successful Business Partners

Business Insights, General
Meg Schmitz couples franchising

As a Franchise Consultant, I help people take the leap into successful business decisions. We all have principles that guide our work, and my First Principle is that I need to have the partner/spouse involved in the research process from the very beginning. While I can only guess about how financially impactful decisions are made at your house, I very rarely hear a spouse say they do not want to be included in the decision about business ownership. And you can’t be part of a decision if you are not part of the discussion.

I am reminded of the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”

So much truth to those seven words.

Everything’s better when you do it together
From the time I began my business consulting gig, I have maintained a daily commitment to keep three things at the forefront of your business decision:

  1. your wife
  2. your life
  3. and your money.

(Pardon the rhyme, as women are increasingly driving the ownership decision)

I take it as a personal challenge to make certain you and your partner both thoroughly research each brand to understand what your roles and responsibilities are, and then make appropriate decisions relative to protecting your family relationships and the time you value spending together.

I learned the hard way…
When I was much younger, I was married to a man who had a dream to quit his job and own a business. He went to a Franchise Expo in Chicago, met with a number of companies there, and came to a conclusion: we would invest in a haircare concept because everyone needs a haircut. Cha-ching!

The problem was that our money was held in a joint account. It was not WE, but HE, who was making a decision that created a disconnect for ME. While I was definitely interested in making more money, I was not keen about a business that operated seven days a week and required constant staffing efforts.

Although we got started together, he wanted to throw in the towel about six months after our Grand Opening. Why? We were financially bleeding to death while being held hostage by a manager unable to retain stylists. I was angry about the time, the money, and the disruption to our lifestyle.

…how to do it the right way
Turning around that first Great Clips location required a few things:

  1. Stop thinking that we “knew better” and start following the franchise’s existing, proven system, including marketing and staffing
  2. Honestly assess employee behavior and weed out those who were not customer
  3. Create a culture that nourished and encouraged better attendance and productivity
  4. Listen to customer feedback about both negative and positive experiences

Once those four things were addressed, I was astonished at how rapidly revenue grew. When the employee culture pivoted into one where the stylists trusted each other, their “deliverable” to the customer improved, and that changed our client and employee retention numbers. That is a recipe for success!

Confidence to turn around a poorly performing business became confidence to open and more locations. The fact that I had found the world’s best manager (and future business partner) meant that I could focus on Big Picture Growth and Expansion while she focused on employee-specific results.

As your business consultant, I first get to know you through conversations about your work history and skill-set preferences, as well as your household dynamics. We collectively discuss your short and long-term goals to understand how this business will add to your happiness and financial well-being. In preserving your primary relationship, we address division of labor as well as covering household expenses.

The Moral of the Story? Joint decisions are important
The current hiring economy is robust, but if you consider owning a business instead, your role must be mutually defined for household continuity. You may want (need) to keep an income generating job while getting the business launched. Perhaps you are out of work and looking for a business to fill the voids in your professional life while living off savings until the business generates real income. In either scenario, you can see how important it is to be aligned with your spouse in the decision, because this is first an investment in the future, with financial rewards increasing with each passing year.

If you and your partner are interested in exploring owning a business together, let’s chat!


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