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Posted: 2010-05-25 / Author: Bob Power Corporate Consultants

Comparisons Between Marriage And Entering Business - 9 Tips

The reason for this paper is not only to show the similarities between marriage and business but also highlight areas of importance which if fully understood, will help to keep marriages alive and to prevent businesses going bust. You could be in both beds, but be careful who with.



It is noted that 3 out of 5 marriages fail and 80% of start-up businesses-60% in the first 6 months, whilst 75% of acquisitions fail. Very few ask the question WHY?

This paper will try to answer some of these questions

  1. Signing contracts. If we start at the beginning we sign agreements we do not understand, whether anti-nupital contacts-buying /business contracts-leases etc. When the marriage or business fails we often find that we can be in very difficult financial straits, because we signed documents making certain commitments which we did not understand. Signing an ANC could be stated as planning for divorce
  2. Long term relationship-Entering marriage should be for life-likewise entering business must be to start and grow, expand and sustain a business and not to make a quick buck and exit
  3. Do your homework-Due diligence-

    The main reasons for failure in marriage and business centre around the following-

    It is estimated that out of every 100 people who say they want to enter into business only 1 does so. The reason for this is that many do not have the nerve to own their own Entering into the business partnership without understanding the other partner is also a risk. In business preferring to stay as employees-with their monthly cheque and guaranteed annual leave. In marriage the same caution should prevail-we all have many associations? before the right person comes along. But love is sometimes blind and do we really know the person we are marrying until we marry them and then it could be too late.

    Another concern flowing from the above is that persons enter into a business and do not understand the product or service being supplied-failure is usually the result.

    In marriage a long term courtship will assist in ensuring that the marriage relationship will work-and you get to know each other better.
  4. Cash is King

    In both marriage and business if there are financial constraints it can have serious detrimental affects
  5. You are the boss

    I know we all say marriage is all give and take-the husband giving and the wife taking. Once in business you have to take responsibility for the management and control of the business, likewise in marriage you have not only yourself to think but also a partner and later children, you no longer have the freedom you had previously-you have to adjust.

    Many persons cannot make the adjustment from being an employee to becoming an employer. Being single also has many advantages and when married some persons cannot move away from their previous freedom and independence.
  6. You have to work at it-Love/passion

    You have to work at marriage to ensure that it succeeds-in business if you have the passion for what you are doing the rewards will be there. In business you soon find that successful negotiation skills can be very beneficial. In marriage you also have to become a good negotiator-but don’t become a bad liar. Like business one should always act honestly-Do we in marriage?
  7. Have an exit policy

    When you enter into marriage the anti-nuptial contract defines what happens when the marriage no longer works and divorce takes place, when you marry you are in effect planning for divorce. Business is no different, you must have a clearly defined agreement on what is to happen when you want to exit the business, which usually is recorded in the shareholder’s agreement.

    It is a reality that over time things change and although you may have worked very hard on making the business or marriage work, the business or marriage is floundering and there is no alternative than to exit –you must get out before making things worse.
  8. Skeletons in the cupboard/ Window dressing

    As stated one does not buy a business until a thorough due diligence examination has taken place-and the buyer is satisfied that what the seller said he was selling is what the buyer is actually buying. The seller will tell the truth the whole truth and sometimes anything but the truth. He will dress up the business to ensure that he can get the best price. In marriage we are inclined to put on a good act to impress our partner-we can overdo it.
  9. Expanding the business

    Many businesses flounder when they expand and going from a small business to a bigger one has to be carefully assessed. Likewise in marriage when children come along the whole structure of the marriage changes and problems appear and must be dealt with.

    Repeat-Warren Buffett equates going into business is like going into marriage-enjoy yourselves but don’t rush into it-good advice-Going into business together I will leave for another day-but I am convinced that you must not take the business to the bedroom.



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