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Your Marriage Venture: The Business of Your Marriage and Personal Enterprise

Your Marriage Venture:  The Business of Your Marriage and Personal Enterprise
MBL Editors

Your Marriage Venture:  The Business of Your Marriage and Personal Enterprise
by Nicole Valentine, Esq.

There’s so much marriage can learn from business.  And there’s so much business can learn from marriage. Business needs more heart and marriage needs more intelligence.

Marriage is an adventure.  Like a roller coaster ride, it has it’s highs and lows.  It can be both euphoric and scary.  It can cause such joy and make you nauseous.  When you start the marriage journey, you quickly realize that the dating landscape leaves you very unprepared for the realities of marriage.  The focus in dating is getting your Prince Charming down the aisle.  While the focus in marriage is building strong roots of family, spiritual life and personal and business endeavors.  I know married couples who have made it past the 10 year mark and they still say,” It’s Work!”  So I keep thinking, if marriage is work, then what if we applied best practices from the business sector to a struggling institution that could benefit from some fresh ideas.

Marriage needs Love and Commitment, Soul-Mate and Spirit Work and Business and Financial Acumen. 

In my work as a Quarterback for the next Big Game of Entrepreneurs, I advise entrepreneurs according to what stage their in.  It’s fruitless to enter into a merger if you haven’t established your business.  It makes little sense to expand into other regions if you haven’t built the foundation for a scalable business.  Since businesses are analyzed in stages, I thought it proper to look at marriage within the stages of the business life cycle.

Here’s my checklist for the Marriage Life Cycle: 

1.  Pre Start-Up:  In business, this is the seed stage where your business is an idea.  In the Marriage Life Cycle, this is the serious dating stage where you are in the market for a co-founder and partner.

Best Practice

Value Your Values and Understand His:  Your values are what’s most important to you.  They are beliefs that determine your priorities and behavior.  You have your list of values and he has his.  Are you compatible?  What does success look like?  How do you cope and communicate through challenges?  This early work is essential in getting on the same page and creating a partnership that lasts.

Beware

Sizzle without Substance:  Your brand is the external expression of who you are.  Instead of having a logo like a business, your personal brand is your signature.  The issue at this stage is people can represent who they are or who they want you to think they are.  In business, I recommend potential merger partners to engage in a 6-month trial and then another 6 months of pre-merger integration planning.  All of the good habits and bad habits shake out during this time period.  The Steve Harvey 90-Day Rule (a sex-free courting period) is a really good practice and I would add the 6-Month Pre-Marital Boot-Camp where you create a plan for your Merge.

2.  Start-Up:  Your marriage has launched and now legally exists.  The wedding is the symbol of your combination and after your honeymoon, the work begins.  This is the early stage of your union where your love and commitment work in synergy with your management of family matters.

Best Practice

Marriage Mentors:  Every start-up can benefit from an advisory board of wise experts who have experienced success and failures and are willing to share with a promising entrepreneur.  The marriage can also benefit from the village of Experienced Marrieds.  Spend time with married couples, divorcees and folks in long lasting relationships.  Learn the secrets of marital success and methods for getting through tough times.  And then invest in other marriage start-ups by sharing your wisdom with Newlyweds.

Beware

Roles of Engagement:  Watch out for gaps in family management.  There are many opportunities to lead in the various areas of your marriage.  Who’s the CEO?  Who’s the CFO?  Is someone in charge of operations and logistics? Make sure all of these roles are filled.

3.  Growth: Your marriage has made it through the toddler years.  You’ve developed your system and processes and they’re working. At this stage,  you may have added to your family by having children.

Best Practice

Team-up:  With a growing family, there are more tasks and chores to manage.  Family and friends are often a great source of support.  Grandparents have been a constant savior for families with young children.  Building a team and delegating tasks can give you and your spouse the chance to spend more quality time together.

Beware

Keeping up with the competition:  The infamous Jones’s are the benchmark for all families.  Why? Because they have a nice car?  Because their kids are in boarding school? Because they bought a summer home in Martha’s Vineyard?  Well, do your thing as a family in your own way according to the goals that you set each year.  The Jones’s are a distraction and any quick move in their direction may derail the path towards the destiny especially set for you and your family.

4.  Expansion:  This is the stage where your family legacy is growing through philanthropy, community activity and financial prosperity.

Best Practice

Focus:  Analyze your giving with an eye on your Return on Investment.  It’s positive for your personal enterprise and the community or organization you are supporting.  I support an organization, The Brotherhood SisterSol, which has a high Return on Impact.  My dollars are being distributed, leveraged and utilized to their highest potential and I am surrounded by like-minded givers whose values align with their work.  Being engaged in your investments is smart and your family’s philanthropy will create opportunities for more growth and expansion.

Beware

Protect Your Legacy:  At this stage, it’s a good idea to protect your assets by making sure you have insurance and savings.  Safety nets are key to protecting the life you have become accustomed to.

5.  Exit & Start Over Start-Ups:  This is the stage where the marriage ends.  It can happen if either of the spouses transition from life to death or if the parties decide to divorce.

Best Practice

Plan Your Exit:  There is no perfect way to end a marriage.  There are, however, better ways than the dramatic examples we have seen where spouses hide money and mistresses; children are left picking up the pieces and the family business has gone up in smoke.  For the forward thinking, the planned exit  takes on the form of pre-nuptials, wills and trusts.  Having a plan creates efficiency, effectiveness and less headaches.

Beware

Tendency to Quit: Because you’ve experienced a loss, there can be a sense of hopelessness.  First time marriage divorce rates hover around 41%, second time marriages around 60% and third time marriages around 70%.  This increase in failure comes from rushing into the next marriage pre-maturely and not being afraid to pull the divorce trigger if it’s not working out.

Join me in remixing these best practices that continue to nurture the essence of marriage and partnership.  Onward and Upward.

With Love,
Valentine

nicolevalentine

Nicole Valentine, Esq.  is the Founder and President of Synergy Business Development, Inc., a Strategic Consulting Firm focused on growing businesses through partnerships, mergers, acquisitions and global and national expansions.

More about her company can be found at www.synergybusinessonline.com.  She is a Quarterback for Entrepreneurs and based in New York.