The Business of Kids!
Why Raising Kids and Running Your Business are almost the same!
Harold is a wise old carpenter who was working on the stairs in my house this week. Actually, to be honest, mid seventies doesn’t seem that old anymore, but Harold is wise. Over the past 20 years, Harold has supported me in fixing and building things for my businesses and my homes. When I asked Harold what I should write about this week, he told me that I should write about raising good kids. “Dave” he said “people need help raising their kids too and its not so much different than running a business”. Harold should know. Harold and his wife Jane successfully raised three happy children who themselves are making a difference in the world.
So in thinking about it, I thought Harold was probably correct and here is why.
1. Kids and Business are usually the result of Passion not Planning! Statistics show that 50% of pregnancies are surprises. This is not much different when we look at businesses. Many businesses are the result of the fact that the founder was passionate about a hobby or job and wanted to start a business to fulfill that passion. Like first time parents, these business owners really don’t understand what they are getting themselves in for. Just like some people without kids, they think they know exactly how to run a business until they actually have one of their own.
2. Parents and Business Owners are sleep deprived in the early years. Often first-time parents and business owners are so focused on ensuring that everything is all right that they are wide awake in the middle of the night. For most people, it takes 3 years to get your business and your kids, to the point where you can get some good nights’ sleep. After 3 years you will still be woken up with crisis and challenges, but by then your business is starting to grow and doesn’t need the same attention it took in the early years. Be warned however, that there will be sleepless nights as both the business and the kids get to their teens and beyond.
3. Raising Kids and Running a Business take Discipline and Determination. We can’t have kids or staff showing up whenever they want, doing what whatever they please, and treating people disrespectfully. If we do, we will lose customers and as parents perhaps even access to our children in extreme cases. It takes determination to ensure that kids are accountable and it takes determination to have a successful business. Both business and parenting require a lot of hard work to get them to the point of self-sufficiency.
4. Sometimes you have to ask people to leave. I remember one time my parents suggesting that when I moved out that I shouldn’t plan on moving back anytime soon. Just as the time will come for your kids to move on, there are times when some customers or employees should move on as well. I have had to fire both employees and customers and often times the results were good for everyone involved. Unfortunately for many people having that difficult conversation doesn’t happen quickly enough. The result is that we feel stressed and taken advantage of.
5. Be Ready to Be Shocked! Nothing ever quite happens the way we plan it when it comes to kids or businesses. Your kids are going to do things that will shock you and fill you with wonder, your business might not be so different. Both will give you wonderful surprises that will lift your spirits and at times bring you to tears.
Always Remember Kids trump Business! How often have we seen business leaders who have neglected their kids in order to have a successful business or career. The long days, missed birthdays, dinners, good night stories, and time spent playing with your kids can never be replaced. We think that the extra money we make for those big holidays, homes or cars makes up for that lost time, but it never really does. Invariably, it comes back to haunt us. In the moment when we are struggling to make ends meet, keep our businesses afloat, and working those extra long hours to move the dial on our career, we need to keep in mind that our kids love us but our businesses never will! As Harold wisely said, “there are some similarities between raising kids and running a business, but in the end, its families that are important and its kids that give us purpose to succeed!
Dave Fuller, MBA is an Award Winning Business Coach in Prince George, and once got a Dad of the Year shirt on Fathers Day. Questions about your business? Email firstname.lastname@example.org