Meeting the multiple demands of a job and family can be challenging for anyone, but for small business owners, the feeling of being pulled in different directions can be especially taxing. With limited time, energy and money at your disposal, finding the right mix may seem impossible—but it doesn’t have to be.
1. Make time to plan and organize. Small business owners often assume multiple roles at work—CEO, office manager and HR generalist, to name a few. It’s easy to understand why your personal finances may not be at the top of your priority list. Instead of multi-tasking, consider scheduling a regular time each month to sit down with your household balance sheet. While this may not be a relaxing activity, knowing your current financial position, and having a plan for the future, can help alleviate stress in the long-run.
2. Communicate with your family. It’s important to keep in mind that your family is a stakeholder in your business, especially if it provides a significant portion of your household income. Speaking openly and frequently about issues you’ve encountered and decisions you’re faced with can help strengthen your relationship with your spouse and children, while also providing you with different perspectives. But, while your family’s needs and wants should always be considered, make sure your final decisions also reflect what’s best for your business.
3. Be realistic. Needs and financial demands change over time. Regularly assess the profitability and growth potential of your business, as well as your household financial situation. If you must make small sacrifices in your personal life, do so—but remember that this works both ways. You may also need to make difficult trade-offs, such as delaying a business expansion in order to make a down payment on a new home or pay your child’s tuition. If you currently have the resources to invest in both, take advantage of the opportunity, but also ensure your actions support your long-term goals.
4. Don’t try to wing it. Whether you’re making decisions for your business, family or both, don’t feel like you need to go at it alone. Talk with other professionals in your network to see what works for them. Consult with a financial advisor, accountant and attorney before you make major financial commitments or sign complicated agreements. And most importantly, treat your personal financial plan and business plan with the importance they deserve—put them in writing. Not only will this help hold you accountable, it will also give you something to refer to when those difficult and inevitable choices arise.
Taking these steps—and feeling confident about your complete financial situation—may help you avoid absolute “one or the other” decisions, and be successful in both your business and personal life.
William “Drew” Watson CFP® is a Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Owensboro, KY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 20 years. To contact us by phone, please call 270-684-8424 or by mail at 111 West 3rd St, Owensboro, KY 42303. You may also visit our website at www.williamawatson.com.