You finally came up with a genius entrepreneurial idea. This is the idea that is going to change everything in your life. In fact, you cannot believe that you did not think of it before. Naturally, you are excited about the prospect of implementing the idea immediately and you cannot wait to share it with your spouse. After all, your idea is so brilliant that your spouse is not only going to share your excitement but give you that look of pride. That look that says: my parents were wrong. I should have married you after all.
You might be so excited that you spring the idea as soon as your spouse walks through the door or maybe you might wait until you are at the dinner table. You might strategically wait until the kids go to bed so that you will not be interrupted. When the moment finally arrives you start to share your idea. Naturally you are excited and so maybe you start to ramble on a bit, but this does not matter to you. After all, this idea is brilliant and it is going to change everything in your life.
As you continue to share your plan you might notice that your spouse’s body language is beginning to change. She might start to ask questions that you were not expecting. She starts to give you a look — but not the one that you were hoping for. You are pretty sure this look signifies that she either thinks you have lost your mind or is regretting not following her parent’s advice.
As she starts to voice her objections, you become frustrated that she cannot see the brilliance in your idea. Instead of taking a step back, you attempt to push the idea even further. While raising your voice, making demeaning comments, or talking about your brilliance are horrible tactics at this point, in your frustration that is the route you choose to go. After this, not only does your spouse not want to hear your idea, it’s likely she will not want to talk to you at all. You have failed at pitching your idea to the most important audience of all — your spouse.
Your Spouse’s Perspective
In selling an idea you must always take into account your target audience. While some couples share an entrepreneurial vision, many couples have one spouse who values security far more than the other. Even couples who are entrepreneurial in nature might have different objectives, levels of risk tolerance, and interests. Even if you and your spouse are the perfect match, entrepreneurial soul mates brought together by fate, your spouse might simply think your idea is dumb.
Whenever you have an entrepreneurial idea you have to take into account your spouse’s perspective. Realize that to the average person most entrepreneurial ideas are going to sound a little crazy. In fact, the more out-of-the-box and brilliant the idea is, the crazier it is likely to sound. Even simple things like stock trading and real estate investing, things that thousands of people have succeeded at, are going to make many people uncomfortable.
Getting your spouse to buy into your idea is a critical step for numerous reasons. Aside from marital bliss, your idea is likely to have financial ramifications on your family and will likely require you to make sacrifices of your time in order to implement it. It is not good enough to simply get a response of “fine, do what you want to do” or even general acceptance. Obtaining genuine support can do wonders to increase your chance of successfully implementing your idea. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for that initial spousal pitch.
1) Work Out the Details of Your Idea. Thoroughly thinking through your plan may seem like common sense. However, many would-be entrepreneurs fail to do this even before pitching an idea to potential investors, let alone a spouse. Obtain all of the relevant financial data, determine start-up costs, educational expenses, marketing expenses, projected revenue, and projected monthly expenses. Are there similar products or individuals who are succeeding at what you are venturing out to do? What is the downside if you are wrong? What is the upside if you are right? How is your idea going to work? Take it from the point you have now (an idea) to the point when it is generating revenue. Is each step along this path logical? Determine for yourself how and why it is going to work.
2) Prepare a Business Presentation. After you work out the details of your plan, you will have gathered plenty of information to present to your spouse. Treat the opportunity to present your idea to your spouse very seriously and use the information you have gathered to make a professional presentation. Prepare a presentation that you would make for a potential investor. Give your spouse this level of respect and if your idea has merit then she will likely will be more receptive to hear it.
3) Prepare for Potential Questions. After you make your presentation or during the presentation, you are likely to be asked numerous questions. In preparation, put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and attempt to anticipate what questions she might have. Have detailed responses for these questions; going as far as preparing material that can help answer these questions.
4) Prepare Action Steps – At some point near the end of your conversation you may have sold your spouse on your idea or she may be on the fence. Even if she seems hesitant, it will be helpful to have a list of action steps that you need to take as a couple/family to implement your idea. Make the first few of these steps simple to achieve; steps that your spouse is almost assuredly willing to agree to. This will help create momentum after the initial sharing of your idea and unanticipated excitement in your spouse as those first few steps are accomplished.
There is little downside to putting in a little preparation before you share an important entrepreneurial idea with your spouse. You might discover the idea was not as strong as you thought it was or you might become more convinced than ever of its worth. Your spouse will be far more receptive when you have facts, figures, and thought-out ideas presented in a professional manner. You might even get that look of admiration as an added bonus.