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Kathy Marshack News

How Family Businesses Benefit from Working with a Psychologist

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Maintaining a delicate balance between business and family is absolutely necessary when running a family business. This is not an easy thing to do. There are differences in work ethics and personalities, along with different strengths and weaknesses. When problems arise at work, it is not only going to affect the business, but also the family arrangement. If you are part of a family business, you may want to consider working with a psychologist who specializes in family businesses.

A family business psychologist works to understand the “soft side” of families who work together. They help the family members to recognize interpersonal problems that will affect the business and the family. I’ve been working as a family business psychologist for a number of years and have seen firsthand the benefits of this approach.

I had the pleasure of working with Camille Eber who is a second generation owner of Roth & Miller Autobody Inc. in Portland. Camille recently wrote an article entitled, "Working with family member is a blessing, challenge" about her personal struggles working with family. She had difficulty getting along with her nephew, William, who is currently the operations manager. They decided to make an appointment with me to help improve their relationship.

Here is what she said about their therapy sessions, "Dr. Marshack, author of "Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home," helped us set individual and business goals and define our responsibilities within the business more carefully, which is a key to success in a family business. The personality testing we worked through was particularly eye-opening. Once my nephew and I acknowledged we're nearly polar opposites, it helped us realize better how we could use that to benefit the business. We were able to return to work on the business as a team rather than working against each other." Click here to read the rest of the article.

If you are experiencing challenges within your family business, I highly recommend making an appointment with a family business psychologist. Like Camille's experience, you will be able to better understand yourself and one another which will help make your business and your family a success.

What is a Mompreneur?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


The term "mompreneur" has been popping up everywhere. What does it mean? Entrepreneur.com defines "mompreneur" as, "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." According to the Center for Women's Business Research, in 2008 "10.1 million firms are owned by women, employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales." No wonder mompreneur has become a popular term – they are everywhere.

Being a mother and a business owner is no easy task. But when done right, both areas can be a success. Here are a few things to help keep a mompreneur in balance:

1. Stick to a schedule. Scheduling will help you stay focused on the most important tasks without getting distracted with nonessentials

2. Get the family on board. A supportive spouse is key to running a successful business. Also, involve the kids when appropriate. They can help you with things around the house or even get involved with some of the business aspects.

3. Take time for self-care. If you don't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of your family or your business. Take a few moments everyday to relax whether that means exercising, reading, or chatting with a friend on the phone.

I have written many articles about women business owners over the years as part of my Families In Business column. I invite you to learn more about how to be a successful business woman leader.

Are Family Businesses Really Different?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Many people who work in family-owned businesses, or family firms, have never stopped to think of the concerns that are unique to family businesses. While about half of the gross national product comes from family owned businesses, and roughly half of America's workers are employed in family firms, the family business is seldom seen as having issues of any significant difference than other sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations.

Inc. Magazine decided it was time to dig deeper into family business issues. Author, Christine Lagorio recently posted the article entitled, How to Run a Family Business, which discusses how to run your family business the right way. She interviewed experts on this topic asking them to share their advice and lessons learned. Since I’m a Family Business Coach and the author of, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home, I was able to share some practical tips for family businesses. I discussed the value of determining what your family style is and working that into your business, as well as the importance of writing a formal business-partnership agreement. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

If you would like to learn more about family business or being an entrepreneurial couple, please visit the Entrepreneurial Life section of my website.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


When a couple works together both at home and at work, they can become confused about the roles they should play in both of these worlds. Often the aggressive pull of success and the push of competition eradicate the more subtle pull of love.

Bringing competition home is probably the worst thing you can do for a marriage. Keep competition and achievement needs at work. When you work with your spouse in your own enterprise, keep in mind that you will be crossing the competition barrier daily. It is hard to stay kind and loving with the one you are competing with. We tend to take competition personally.

The following are some ways to diffuse the tension of competition between spouses:

· Set up separate work areas within the business.

· Reward each other often for your individual successes.

· Take breaks from each other often.

· Make a clean break from work at the end of the day.

This latter recommendation is vital. Do not discuss work at all at home if your business requires that both spouses be leaders and you are both highly independent and headstrong (sound like anyone you know?).

The most important thing to remember when you work together is why you chose your spouse in the first place. This is someone you love and trust and want to spend the rest of your life with. These qualities aren’t bad either for the kind of person you want to help you build your dream business.

For a more detailed discussion on this topic, read my article, Can Competition At Work Cost You Your Marriage? If you are an entrepreneurial couple, please sign up for my free monthly Entrepreneurial Couples Newsletter for sound business and relationship tips to show you how to make it work at work and at home.

Adjust your attitude about the upcoming New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The New Year is in just a few days! The arrival of the New Year can bring additional stress to overachievers. Instead of thinking about the negative, think of January as time to recoup and restore your energy and peace of mind. January is also a time to build a foundation for the goals you want to accomplish this year.

Because January brings us the opportunity to make New Year's Resolutions, I think it is about time to start a new tradition, that of appreciating ourselves for who we are. As one bumper sticker proclaims, "God doesn't make junk." Let your New Year's Resolution this year be - "I will accept myself totally and unconditionally and be the best I can be this year."

If you can appreciate who you are, that each and every day you are making a valuable contribution to your community by just doing your everyday thing (not overachieving), then you will have a much more prosperous New Year.

You will notice your talents more and strengthen them. You will notice your flaws more too, but you can build a plan to correct them. If you have been successful accomplishing other people's goals, think how much you can really accomplish if you lead your own life.

This year focus on self acceptance and you will benefit. For suggestions on how to change your paradigm for the year, read my article - Entrepreneurs should tackle the New Year with new priorities.

Entrepreneurs – Be Prepared for Winter Conditions

Monday, November 09, 2009


The days of winter are upon us. With the busy schedules of entrepreneurial couples, a dangerous weather situation can occur before we even realize it, and we find ourselves not only unprepared in our personal surroundings, but also our work environment. Here are some reminders from FEMA that will provide protection at home and at work:

Basic home and/or office checklist:


· Prepare an alternative heat source.

· Check your roof for leaks, and nearby trees for branches that could fall on the house.

· Protect your pipes by insulating them, and keep those faucets dripping during extreme temperatures.

· Know where the water valves are and how to shut them off.

· Have fire extinguishers available along with the knowledge of how to use them.

· Think ahead to how you can help disabled friends and elderly ones. Include clients who have special needs.

Basic car preparations:

· Check antifreeze levels, battery, brakes, heater and defroster, lights, oil, thermostat, and wipers.

· Make sure that your tires are in good working order.

· Keep at least a half-tank of gas in the car.

· Have a winter emergency kit in the car, which includes: a shovel, scraper and broom, flashlight, battery powered radio, water, snack food, matches, extra warm clothing, first aid kit with a pocket knife, blankets, medications, booster cables, flares, fluorescent distress flag, tow rope, and road salt and sand.

These guidelines not only protect you and your family, but they can assist others. In addition, being prepared means you save time and money. In the end, you can continue your business with less interruption and the ability to be available when perhaps the unprepared competitors are not.


Families in Business – The Benefits of Volunteering

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


In families that share family and business, it is easy for their time to be taken up by the essentials of daily living.  It can become a work-and-little-play situation.  If this scenario sounds all too familiar, think about balancing out the family by incorporating volunteering into your family’s lifestyle.  What? You have no time, you say?  Well, consider what family volunteering can do for you and your family, before you conclusively make up your mind.

Family volunteering produces quality time.  This includes:

      Establishing common bonds while helping others. 

      Discovering new knowledge about each other. 

      Mutual respect as demonstrating skills and learning new ones are processed. 

      Deeper and meaningful conversations around the dinner table.

Convinced, but need help getting started?  Call a family meeting and take time to consider this whole idea. Make sure everyone, no matter how young, participates in the discussion. You might want to proceed this way:

      Explore and list current volunteer efforts.

      Everyone has a community concern.  Discuss each person’s concern.

      Consider the possibilities and efforts involved.  Be realistic in determining how much time and effort the family can afford.

To arrive at the best volunteering scenario for your family may require several family meetings, but if you are looking for meaningful and quality time together, this time will be well spent. A one-time activity may be a good place to start. Perhaps look close to home for an opportunity, such as raking leaves for an elderly neighbor.  This will provide an opportunity to see how everyone likes volunteering together.

Show your children that volunteer work is important and meaningful by taking your commitment seriously. Even when things are hectic, keep the commitment alive by talking and planning. Think about how this experience will enable you to pass along your legacy of values and ethics to your children, giving them not only an important example, but wonderful family memories as well. 

 

 


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