A True Partnership: Building Your Child Care Business with Your Spouse
You must be asking yourself what does my relationship have to do with my child care business and why is Brian giving relationship advice?
Carol and I have been working with couples off and on for about 20 years in a marriage ministry. Many of the couples we have worked with were business owners who allowed the business to
take priority over the relationship and the couple grew apart.
Our goal at Child Care Genius™ is to make a positive difference in the lives of 100,000 child care center owners, directors, and teachers around the world. For us to accomplish
our mission, we need the clients that we work with to have successful businesses, and a successful business starts with successful home life.
There are two different types of child care relationships; one where both partners are in the business and one where only one partner is in the child care business. In this column, I am only going to tackle couples that build the business together. Even if you both have different professions currently, as your business grows that can change and the better you prepare to spend 24/7 with your partner, the easier the transition.
When a couple is building a child care business together, the first thing that must be done is establishing clear lanes of
responsibility. By each person having a specific set of tasks they are responsible for, it lessens the chance for toes to get stepped on or feelings to be hurt. Write out a clear job description for each person and stay “in your lane.”
Meet weekly on the same day and time for consistency and discuss all business-related items. Any issue that there is
disagreement with must be negotiated and you must work towards a mutually enthusiastic agreement. By having
enthusiastic support from both partners on all aspects of the business, there is much less of a chance for blame to be
assigned if anything goes wrong.
I highly recommend that there be a cut off time at the end of each day where work stops and family time starts, for me it is 7pm. Cell phones get turned off, we hold hands and we watch TV or read, but absolutely no work talk. This way when we go to bed we are in a much more relaxed state of mind.
Spend at least 1 day of every weekend doing fun stuff together as a family. Early on in our business, Carol and I, used to spend the entire weekend working on our centers and that was not good for our family at all. The children learned to hate the daycare business because it consumed so much of the family time.
Eat together as a family without discussing the child care business. Meals should be off-limits for child care discussions. Use the time to bond as a family; and eat together, at a table, not in front of a television.
I have coached a lot of married couples that are both full time in the business and many of them have had marriage problems due to the stresses of spending 24 hours a day with the person you work and live with. By following a few of the guidelines above, you can improve your relationship which will make you a better owner to your staff and the families you serve.
A book I am reading right now that I highly recommend is He Wins, She Wins by Willard Harley, Jr. It is about relationship negotiation and is helpful in business communication and negotiation as well.
Carol and I wish you the very best in your relationship and your business. Always remember that the relationship is far more important and needs an equal amount of time, effort, and energy than you give to your child care business (actually it needs more).