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A Mother/Daughter Tale: Joined At More Than The Hip

Before they could work together on behalf of their clients, this duo had to work out the kinks inherent in the shift from family to business. While their personal bond and shared interests led them to the same professional passions, they are the first to admit it isn’t always smooth sailing when working closely with someone you love. We asked them to share their challenges and triumphs of thriving on the job.

The C Words: Control, Communication, Compromise, Change

Lou: As with any good partnership, even though it is supposed to be 50/50 usually it isn’t. Someone is controlling and someone is controlled. When I invited my daughter into my company, I had mixed emotions. I was skeptical. We both like control.

Crystal: It is one thing to communicate with your mother as a daughter, but it’s a whole other world when you have to communicate as a business partner. Since I was joining her business, I had to play by her rules. It was very difficult in the beginning because I wanted to change many things. It became a lesson in compromise. I learned to accept the hard work she had already done and in return we had to compromise on what was going to happen in the future.

Lou: I had to examine my prejudices and biases toward our mother/daughter relationship. I had to forget our history and our ups and downs while she was growing up. Change can be good—at least that is what I had told some of my previous clients! It was intimidating, but I was determined to embrace it. Old ways aren’t always the best way.

Balance and Building the Business

Crystal: We’re able to transition smoothly from work life to personal life. Even if we’re out of the office we are still able to talk about work with ease. Some of our best ideas have come as a result of a long day of shopping.

Lou: We are always trying to find more efficient, cost-effective ways to network and promote our business. We begin each day by reading the local newspapers. We look for seminars that attract executives. Such seminars could be financial planning, investing, health information or legal and human resource issues. Our goal is to determine the decision-level of the potential attendees. (Sometimes a phone call to the sponsoring group will clarify that.) Based on our research, we make a determination if it will help with our efforts to reach the C-level that we target. If it does, we attend.

Crystal: My hobby is gardening, so I’m joining other business people to compete for a national “America’s Beautify Your City” award. I’m proud of what I do and I talk to everyone who will listen. I’m also always interested in what others have to say.

Lou: I recently joined the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Most of the members are women who are decision- makers or can influence a positive decision.

Crystal: We split up and talk to as many people as we can. People are usually curious about what we do. Not every event is valuable for building our business. We might have a snack and a drink, but the people we meet aren’t in a position to help us land new business.

Lou: Events that target small business owners aren’t typically valuable for business development. Attendees are there to promote their business and aren’t interested in purchasing products or services.

Crystal: My mother took the chance to take me under her wing, to introduce me to who she knows and to show me how business is done. That’s something they can’t teach you in a classroom. To my mother, thank you for showing me how to be a professional businesswoman.