Parenting Your Business In The New Year
By Alison Morse, Vice Chair of the Health Practice
It was on a recent Friday when I was simultaneously wrangling my lively 3-year-old and trying to have a cogent conversation with a colleague on the phone, that it hit me how much parenting a spirited toddler is like having a business.
Both need careful care and feeding. Both will keep you up nights, worrying about their health. Both require your full attention – or else. The emergencies – and there will be emergencies – are on you to deal with. You’re on call 24/7, whether it’s a leaky diaper or a leaky pipe. You are the person who cares most in the world about its welfare, so it’s tough to delegate responsibility to anyone, even an able manager (or your mother-in-law), because, hey, they don’t love it like you do. At the end of the day, they go home and leave work behind. Not you; when you’re a parent or a business owner, there’s no “end of the day”. It’s your baby.
All that said, when you see it thriving and growing under your care, there’s nothing like the thrill of pride it bestows. You walk a little taller, and life is a whole lot more interesting than it was before you had it.
I think that’s what I love about entrepreneurs – whether they’re doctors starting out or expanding their practices, small business owners bootstrapping their enterprises on their credit cards or the orthodontists I’ve met who take on needy patients in the community pro bono, because they feel the sense of mission so powerfully that caring for people, even on their days off, is in their DNA. It’s the passion that drives us all – the love for what we’ve made and the vision for what it can grow into with our care and guidance.
In one important area, we differ, though: When you’re Brand Mom, your authority comes with the job. When you’re establishing yourself as an expert in your field, building that authority requires thoughtful effort, because your patients, clients, or customers don’t come into the world pre-engineered to love you. You’ve got to make that connection, be heard above the media noise, and stand out from the competition. That’s what we do; help you to establish that authority, so your enterprise can grow up and make you proud. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than helping you entrepreneurial “parents” out there to grow your “babies” … except a sticky kiss on the cheek from Princess-Peanut-Butter-And-Jelly-Lips.
But it’s close.