In our last conversation we talked about Tayo and Ummi, two founders whose family lives have a significant influence on the growth of their businesses. If you have not read the last article in this series, you can find it here: Trying To Grow Your Business? Check Your Spousal Capital. In this article we defined spousal capital and some terms like startup and breakeven that may show up often in our conversations.
Today we are looking at the preconditions for the utilization of spousal capital. By this we mean, what does spousal capital look like in the day-to-day affairs of an entrepreneur and how can it be activated and optimized.
It is also important to note that our discussion of this topic is simply an intellectual exercise to see cause, effect and the best possible application of the findings to a business venture. We do not support unethical use of our work.
Having said that, let us look at some scenarios:
Ego is a young female entrepreneur looking to get married soon. She has been interviewing some of her suitors to see which would be the best fit for her.
Ego is aware that spouses play a significant role in the success of a business venture and having sold the fintech startup she co-founded 6 years ago to a key player in the global financial services industry, she is interested in starting another business right after marriage.
Ego is also aware that historical research suggests that women do not receive adequate spousal capital when they start business ventures but she has seen how Halima’s fresh produce startup grew astronomically due to the remarkable assistance of her spouse.
She knows this type of spousal support is rare for women but she believes she can be part of the exceptions to the rule.
Question: What quality should Ego look out for in her potential spouse to help her increase the chances of her business’ growth?
Oche is a facility manager with an Airline. His spouse is planning to found an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) powered logistics business next year.
Recently, Oche discovered that spousal capital can influence a business’ growth potential and he is keen on supporting his spouse with as much spousal capital as necessary but he doesn’t know how to go about it.
Question: What should Oche do to provide enough spousal capital for his spouse’s business venture?
1. Know that spousal capital is a multiplier.
2. Conscientiousness is the jackpot
Know That Spousal Capital Is A Multiplier:
Research by Owens, G., Scott, J.M. and Blenkinsopp, J. in their 2013 publication titled: ‘The impact of spousal relationships on business venture success’ tells us that people in healthy close romantic relationships live longer than those who live alone.
This implies that those in toxic close romantic relationships live shorter lives than those who live alone. So since spouses are producers of spousal capital, we can say that a spouse is a multiplier. This means that a spouse can either multiply the chances of failure or growth in a business venture.
Just to be clear, let us illustrate what spousal capital can look like in the day-to-day of a business venture: (a) commitment to the new venture and (b) emotional support. Owens and co. in their 2013 research publication titled: The impact of spousal relationships on business venture success found out that that the degree of commitment of a spouse to a new business venture had an impact on the firm’s performance.
Owens and colleagues also discovered that for entrepreneurs “the feeling of being supported is often more important than any actual support being received” from their spouses. I guess you would be wondering why.
Their research suggests that entrepreneurs sometimes suffer from severe bouts of low self-esteem so the quality of emotional support received from their spouse can significantly affect the trajectory of their business venture.
They go on to say that not all support (emotional or otherwise) provided to the entrepreneur brings about a positive result even if they were well intended.
Owens and co. tell us that when a spouse has other important goals, spousal capital investment in a business venture would be low or negative or both.
Therefore, this is proof that spousal capital is multiplier of what is already existent. In this context, it multiplies what is existent in the health of a close-romantic relationship. So we can say that the more poisonous a close-romantic relationship is between a founder and his/her spouse, the more poisonous the spousal capital will be and vice versa.
Conscientiousness is the Jackpot:
Going by the scenarios we outlined in the beginning of our conversation today, Ego should look for high levels of conscientiousness in a potential spouse while Oche should attempt to become more conscientious. A March 2015 article on Business Insider by Drake Baer titled: Here’s the personality trait that predicts success for employees — and entrepreneurs suggests that conscientiousness is a quality that predicts success in spousal relations and success in founding a business among other things.
Similarly, Jeff Haden in a December 2014 article on Inc. titled: Want to be more successful? Marry The Right Person posits that conscientious partners exhibit more pragmatic behaviour and should be desired as their presence is a predictor of success.
So what is conscientiousness?
The Oxford Languages Dictionary defines being conscientious as: “wishing to do one’s duty well and thoroughly”. It offers a second meaning to the word and defines it as: relating to a person’s conscience. To better understand what we are dealing with here, let us explore the synonyms of the word conscientious as provided by the Oxford Dictionary. Some of them are: hard-working, careful, attentive, religious and thorough.
Therefore, conscientiousness in a spouse means a spouse that is desirous to do his duty well and thoroughly. It means someone who is attentive, careful, hard-working and meticulous and may even be religious. So Ego should be on the look-out for these set of qualities in her potential spouse while Oche should develop these set of qualities if he is really interested in investing enough spousal capital into his spouse’s upcoming business venture.
Furthermore, Owens and Co. posited that spousal capital must exist and must be deployed for there to be any influence on the entrepreneur’s business venture. We will explore this and more in the next installment of this article.
Meanwhile, here is a recap of what we have discussed so far. In our last conversation we talked about Tayo and Ummi, two founders whose family lives have a significant influence on the growth of their businesses. This conversation can be found here: Trying To Grow Your Business? Check Your Spousal Capital. Today we are looked at the prerequisites for the utilization of spousal capital especially, how spousal capital looks like in the day-to-day affairs of an entrepreneur and how it can be activated and optimized. We found out that spousal capital is a multiplier and that a conscientious spouse increases the chances of success in a business venture.
Okechukwu is the founder of Maca, a sales and business development imprint of Vanquisher Media Group (VMG). He is the author of Sales Mindset: A Sustainable Guide for Salespeople in Higher Education and Financial Services. He can be reached at [email protected]