Originally created 07/31/05

Work-life balance is one key to success



Neglecting either family or business can lead to the downfall of both, but striking a balance between the two can result in both personal and professional fulfillment.

Because a startup business is often a passion, bridging the gap isn't always easy.

"There has to be a commitment from the significant people in your life for you to get a business off the ground," said Constance Pritchard of the Augusta-based Pritchard Group, a human resources and organizational development firm.

A family has to be prepared for the long haul.

"When you talk to a lot of small businesses the one thing they say is they don't take a vacation for 10 years, you're not just talking a year, you're talking a fairly extended period of time," Ms. Pritchard said.

Keeping family happy while getting a small business off the ground requires planning, flexibility and plenty of communication, said Kristi McMillan, the associate director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University. If the business does well that can help the family find more financial security, she said.

The process has been a learning experience for Kim Threet, the wife of Everthere President Steve Threet.

"It's taught us a lot on how to support each other. One of us has to always pick the other one up sometime or another, we do that pretty equally," she said.

One of the best ways to keep commitments to family is to make an appointment for them, much like a business meeting.

"Put it in your day timer and then honor that time," Ms. Pritchard said.

Another important skill is learning how to delegate duties so you can take time off, but that can be a difficult step.

"Entrepreneurs are often very independent people, they're used to self sufficiency," she said. "Look at how you're spending discretionary time, is it where I need to be and what I need to be doing."

Strong family support and good planning and communication can make the work-life balance easier, but at some point, entrepreneurs must accept their fate.

"You have to work whenever you have to work. Convenience is not in the dictionary when you run your own business," Mrs. Threet said.

Reach Adrian Burns at (706) 823-3352 or adrian.burns@augustachronicle.com.