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Kathy Marshack News

Kindle Edition of “Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home”

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Great news! My book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home is now available on as a Kindle edition on Amazon.com.

Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home examines the traps entrepreneurial couples can fall into and offers practical advice for dealing with them. For example, entrepreneurial couples with a full family life have greater potential for breakdown in communication than do other couples. They often fail to confront issues head-on, instead relying on compromise and other avoidance techniques to ward off conflict.

How does a couple balance intimacy with family life and meaningful work? You'll read how to assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of your life, improve communication with your partner, develop flexibility, and reexamine priorities, offering a new way to design and live a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

"This book is a must read for any couples who are in business together." W. Gibb Dyer Jr., Ph.D. Marriot School of Management, Brigham Young University

"We wish we had this information thirty years ago when we started our business." Tom and Linda Denchel, Co-Owners, Tom Denchel Ford Country

Download your Kindle edition today!

Working Within Your Strengths – Practice Giving

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Each and every individual is endowed with strengths and weaknesses. In order to find success and joy in life, you must learn to work with those strengths and weaknesses. How is this possible?  


The New York Times published an interesting article about a man who has mastered the art of working with his strengths and overcoming his weaknesses. His name is Adam Grant. He is a professor at Wharton and an organizational psychologist. Organization psychology takes the principles of psychology and apply them to the workplace. He works with companies to help them care for and motivate their employees and also works with the employees to get the most out of their work. Grant is approachable, helpful, and dedicated. He believes that the biggest source of motivation should be found in helping others. His book, "Give and Take" centers around this idea that satisfaction and productivity are linked to extreme giving. 

 

What struck me about Grant was reading about his childhood and adolescence. He was shy, socially awkward, and had a fear of public speaking. Grant challenged himself to overcome his social weaknesses and in the process learned that giving enabled him to do that. He learned to work within his strengths and weakness and now has joy and success. What a win-win situation! I recommend reading his story in the article - Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? 


To learn more about finding success and working with your strengths and weakness, visit Personal Growth

Encouraging Independence in a Family Firm

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


If you are an entrepreneurial couple with children, are you looking to grow into a family firm? If you want to include your children in the business, then there are a few vital things to keep in mind. There are two goals. One is to develop a thriving business. The second is to develop healthy independent adults who can contribute to society.


Most of us cherish the responsibility of parenting and are reluctant to give it up when the children leave home. In family firms where children may never leave the “nest” so to speak, the parenting role may continue indefinitely. How do you encourage independence for your child when they never really leave? There are a variety of strategies for ensuring that the second generation in family firms really grow up. The strategy that fits for you depends upon the business, the parents’ skills and personality and the skills and personalities of the children. 

 
The child needs an environment where they must prove themselves capable of leadership in the family business. For some this means leaving the business for awhile and working elsewhere. For others, it means getting an education before returning to the family business. Another child may benefit by working their way up from the "mailroom" with no preferential treatment from the parents. Finally, some children will be better family members and more capable adults if they never return to the family business.


You must keep in mind that the business can be successful without the child and the child can be successful without the business. That is, set your sights on accomplishing both goals independent of each other, and you may be surprised how they come together in the long run. For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business

Minimize Stress by Creating a More Workable Schedule

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you feel like there are just not enough hours in the day? It's a common complaint to hear someone say they need more time. And if you constantly feel anxiety and stress because you’re too busy there can be mental and physical health repercussions. By following a few simple time management tips, you might just be able to feel like you are accomplishing more during your day.


Here are a few simple strategies worth implementing:


1. Schedule your day thoughtfully. Write it out on paper or electronically. Distribute activities evenly throughout the day. If it starts to get too hectic, focus on the most important tasks and move the others to another day.


2. If you must reschedule, do it as soon as possible especially if it involves someone else. You want them to have the opportunity to shift around their schedule. This is just common courtesy.


3. Identify opportunities to multi-task. This requires creativity. Look for ways to merge tasks. Make phone calls while getting your car service...throw in a load of laundry and then run to the grocery store. 


4. Be flexible. Things come up, mistakes are made, and not everything goes as planned. When you are more prepared to go with the flow you won’t feel so out of control.


Creating more time in the day will give you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. If these strategies are just not working and you continually feel overwhelmed, you may need to learn stress management techniques. A mental health care professional can assist you in this regard. Contact my office to set up an appointment. 


Click here to learn more about Managing Stress. 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Navigate Successfully Through Difficult Conversations

Thursday, February 14, 2013


“I'd like to talk with you about something," she says.

"What now?" he asks with a sigh.

"Well I'd like to know what we are going to do about this problem," she says, starting to get frustrated.

"I'll take care of it. Stop pressuring me!" he shouts.

"I'm not pressuring you. I just want to help and I think we should talk about it," she says imploringly.

"I said I'd take care of it. I'm working on it. Why won't you get off my back?" he says emphatically.
  


Does this conversation sound familiar? If it does, then you are most likely married or in a long-term relationship. These types of conversations are even more typical when a married couple also works together. Even though they may be common in relationships, it doesn't mean they are healthy. In fact they are frustrating and can cause long-term damage.   


In order to change the course of these conversations, there are three things to keep in mindFirst, when couples live and work together there is an increased potential for misunderstanding. The more you are around anyone and the more you talk with that person, the more opportunity there is for miscommunication, misunderstanding and arguments. Second, when you work with the one you love, misunderstandings carry more weight than they might with someone you are not as emotionally connected with. You care more what they think of you and if they believe you care about them. Third, men and women problem solve differently. While men are competitive and want to prove themselves by solving the problem on their own, women strive to include others in the process of problem solving to come up with a group decision.


So if we take another look at the dialog above with these three considerations in mind, the miscommunication is much easier to unravel. First, the wife is trying to have a conversation with her husband about a subject that they have probably beaten to death, and with no resolution. She means well, but he feels like she is just shoving his face into the problem once again. Secondly, the husband also believes that she is accusing him of failing to solve the problem or to solve it quickly enough. In reality, she is offering to help him solve it. Third, the wife assumes that her husband understands that she is trying to help when she asks questions, but he can only hear that she is asking questions he cannot answer. (Click here read the reverse dialog when the couple understands these communication differences.)   


It may not always been this simple. It takes a lot of hard work to try to navigate communication pitfalls, but it can be done. The better you are at reading those subtle differences in style that can lead to tragedy or success, the more likely you are to be successful in all your communications in business. Set up an appointment with a marriage therapist/family business coach who can help guide you through this process.


For more information, take a look at my book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home.

Strong Team Dynamic Linked to More Women

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


What kind of individual do you want on your business team? Intelligence is often the desired quality. According to an interesting study in 2011 published in the Harvard Business Review, more women on a team lead to a greater success rate. When given tasks such as brainstorming, puzzle solving, and making decisions, the teams with women scored higher. (Read What makes a team smarter? More women)   


What makes team dynamics with women more successful? In a nutshell, it’s called being a good team leader. This includes being a good listener, being concerned about others, and being open-minded. These are abilities that come more naturally to women, which is why they are great employees, managers, and entrepreneurs. 


Even though these things come naturally to most women, in order for them to be truly successful, these good qualities must be cultivated. To learn more about how a woman can be a successful business leader, read my article – It takes three things to be a successful business woman.

Defining the Solo Entrepreneur with a Supportive Spouse

Thursday, December 27, 2012


What is an entrepreneurial couple? Since I wrote a book about entrepreneurial couples, I frequently hear that question. There are three types of entrepreneurial couples: solo entrepreneur with a support spouse, dual entrepreneurs, and copreneurs. It is important as an entrepreneurial couple to define which one you are. Let's now focus on one type: the solo entrepreneur with a support spouse.

 

Definition:

 

●  One partner owns and manages the business

●  The supportive partner helps out with the business part-time or psychologically

●  The supportive partner may be employed outside the business

 

Example:

 

Bob and Carol used to work together in their successful nursery and garden supply business, but Bob has since returned to his old employer leaving Carol to manage the business on her own, as a solo-entrepreneur. Bob has become the supportive spouse. He is employed elsewhere, providing emotional support to his wife’s business, but not really involved in the day-to-day management and headaches of running it. Carol, on the other hand, recognizes her talent as an entrepreneur and is much better suited to running the operation on her own as a sole proprietor.

 

Summary:

 

While each entrepreneur brings his or her own character, strengths, and weaknesses to the business, the supportive spouse also has qualities that balance with the qualities of their entrepreneurial spouse to create a specific relationship style and business. To learn more about the solo entrepreneur with a supportive spouse, download my eBook - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home

Promote Fair Compensation for Women in Family Firms

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Women in family businesses are often the backbone of the organization. Whether she’s the founder, a founding partner, a supportive spouse or daughter, or an employee of the family enterprise, a woman often is willing to do work that others feel is beneath them because she recognizes the greater good. Research has shown that when a man starts a business, he usually can count on his wife’s unpaid labor during those lean start-up years. Women entrepreneurs, on the other hand, realize that they must go it alone if their businesses are to succeed. They too use the services of family and friends in those early years, but often their husbands don’t offer unpaid help with such menial chores as housework, child care or envelope stuffing.   


As a stakeholder or a stockholder, a family business woman should be accorded compensation, benefits and perks befitting her considerable contributions to the health of the family and the enterprise. There are two ways to accomplish this. First, the business owners should re-evaluate their standards and update stock, compensation and benefits plans for female employees. Second, they should implement programs to encourage the talent development of the girls in the family.   


Here are some suggestions:

  1. Develop flexible compensation plans that reward women for their hard work and talent even if they work part-time or take a leave of absence.
  2. Institute stock purchase plans for part-timers.
  3. Evaluate voting rights. Is it absolutely necessary to be a partner or a full-time worker to have a vote?
  4. Don’t ever pay the women according to what they would earn at another company. Pay them for their value to your family business. Obviously, a wife or mother is worth much more as your advocate than she would be paid as a bookkeeper in a non-family company.
  5. Pay for child care, and encourage the family business women and men to take advantage of the opportunity. Better yet, set up on-site child-care centers so that family business women will not conflicted about leaving their children to go to work.
  6. Set up a system to mentor the girls in the family. Often young women don’t even consider joining the family business, because they see the handwriting on the wall (i.e., the guys have sewn up all the good jobs). Arrange apprenticeships for the girls so they can learn first-hand about opportunities at your family firm.
  7. Offer scholarships to girls who are willing to study business in college or major in an area applicable to your family business.
  8. Don’t restrict scholarships to college. Offer start-up capital to young women who want to set up their own businesses if they write a good business plan.

Many family business owners mean well but just haven’t taken the time to delve into this problem. But if compensation and other recognition aren’t handled fairly for family business women, the enterprise will suffer from relationship disharmony as well as a “brain drain.” For the health and future success of the family business, these problems need correcting immediately.   

For additional information, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Families in Business. You can also download my recently released eBook for only $9.95 - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. Chapter 6 is on “Women Entrepreneurs: Are They Different from Men?”

Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home – Now Available for Download

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


A growing phenomenon are husbands and wives joining forces in an entrepreneurial venture to make their dreams come true. For years I’ve been coaching and writing about these "entrepreneurial couples." And what I’ve observed, and my research supports, is that becoming an entrepreneurial couple is risky both professionally and personally. There are many challenges that come with this lifestyle. It's not an easy road, but the payoff can be great. 

 

My book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home - was written to address what it really is like to be an entrepreneurial couple. This book uses real-life examples to identify the challenges of this entrepreneurial lifestyle, as well as offer specific advice to help couples find the right balance at home and at work. It includes interactive questionnaires that help assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you’re a busy couple, this book is just what you need to help you design a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – has just been made available on my website as an e-Book. Download this PDF and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to download your own copy for only $9.95. 

How to Avoid Communication Problems in Family Businesses

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Bad communication is a major pitfall for family businesses. If families in business together do not learn how to properly communicate, the business and more importantly, the family will suffer. Poor communication or miscommunication is commonplace because not everyone is a naturally born communicator. It is a skill that has to be developed.


Before a complete communication breakdown, there are usually a few minor missteps that occur. Consider a few of this missteps and how to avoid them. 


Using a filter.  Humans have the tendency to only hear what they want to hear. Our desires, our past experiences, and what we focus on are filters. Filters shape how we listen and how we respond. So, when in conversation, ask yourself if a filter is shaping what you are hearing and speaking. If it is, remove it.  


Complaining. If there is a problem that needs to be solved, don’t be a complainer. Constant complaining is like a nail on a chalkboard and it doesn’t accomplish anything but aggravate the people around you. If there is a problem, speak about the problem and how to solve it. 


Poorly chosen words. You have heard it a million times, but it must be repeated. Think before you speak. Words have the power to cause a lot of damage and it is hard to erase what you say. So instead of saying something you will regret, think about it in advance. If you need time to think, ask politely to resume the discussion after putting some thought into the manner. 


Families in business can learn much about proper communication by enlisting the help of a family therapistContact my office if you are interested in setting up an appointment. 


My book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – is also available for purchase and is highly beneficial for helping entrepreneurial couples to be better communicators. I’ve recently released it as an ebook. Download it and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to order your copy.



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