Business Consultant Griselda K Togobo is the founder of the Money Masterclass for Female Entrepreneurs, which she says is the only programme helping women entrepreneurs make sense of their money so they can reap financial success and not pain from their business ventures. In this article she shares some truths about your business and relationship.
We women love very deeply. We are generally more than happy to share all we have with our romantic partners. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this since giving makes for a deeper relationship.
However, I just wanted to share some stories with you that might give you food for thought and hopefully prompt you to do things differently when you set up your next venture – something that I’m sure you’ll do as most entrepreneurs go on to create multiple ventures.
Most women I know set up their businesses and immediately sign off half of the equity to their partners – even partners who are not active in the business. We do this because we love them and want them to know we are happy to share everything with them.
For us giving half of a business away is just another way of expressing love and showing that we truly care and are 110% committed to our partners. This attitude is great in an ideal world where perfect relationships exist. But with seven out of 10 first-time marriages ending in divorce in the UK, it makes sense to at least think through how it may affect you.
I have worked closely with women who were bullied by partners, who threatened to walk away with half the share of the business any time they quarrelled. A very difficult and painful situation to witness.
I had a client who finally shut down her business because the threats and constant bullying from her now estranged partner (who was also a 50% equity partner in the business) got too much. She preferred to walk away and start afresh rather than continue building a business when he could claim half at any time.
Another lady had to buy her husband out of the business through an expensive legal battle after the business took off and the relationship went downhill. These stories are about real people who were in happy relationships when their businesses were set up.
These women’s partners’ typically have made no contribution to the business. They were probably supportive at the beginning, but quickly lost interest when the reality of the hard work sunk in. The business is then left with the woman shouldering all the issues ONLY for the partner to claim his 50% share when the relationship starts to break down.
When this happens, the women loses a lot more than money, but the financial impact can be quite devastating. I recognise that these stories are not being told, but they are happening and I want to do my bit to help women really think through their business decisions.
As a female entrepreneur, you need to take control of your finances and plan for your future, but you can only do this when you are in control of the business.
So this is what I advocate:
Really think things through before signing over part of your business to anybody. Even if you think the business is only a small one, you never know what it’ll be in 5-10 years time. Use your head and keep business as separate as possible from your personal life if it’s not a joint venture.
Our relationships and our businesses are two very important aspects of our lives. We need to keep them as separate as possible if they are both to work and to avoid one compromising the other.
*Business consultant and Workingmums.co.uk small business expert Griselda Togobo is the founder of the Money Masterclass, a premium subscription programme that you can register for today to start receiving weekly money-making, money-saving and cash-flow-boosting tips delivered straight to your inbox. The goal of the programme is to help female entrepreneurs achieve business success and financial confidence and security by prioritising how they manage their money. The programme is perfect for those who need on–going reminders, tips and strategies to help them make the best of their money and business. Membership to the programme is available at a launch price of £19.99 and will cost £29.99 thereafter. For more information or to book, visit http://www.awovi.com/tmm/.