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Monday, December 14, 1998
  How to strike the right balance between home and work

Most entrepreneurs I meet say that family is the most important thing in their life. But they also lament that in building their business, they have not been able to spend much time with their loved ones.

There are a number of ways that entrepreneurs try to achieve the right balance between home and work:

Short workweek. At certain times of the year, an entrepreneur may decide to work only a four-day week or perhaps three days out of five. The difficulty with this system is that clients rarely have the same schedule.

When asked about the success of this approach, entrepreneurs say sometimes they can stick to their schedules days off. But they often make up for lost time by working late evenings or weekends. They are often exhausted and communicate that to family members. Children learn quickly that there never seems to be a good time to speak to their parents.

Quality time. Owner-managers often say that while they are not home a lot, the time they do spend with their family is fully focus" In the letter, tell them you like just being with them and how much you love them.

We often assume that by just speaking these words, our children will fully believe them. But seeing the words written - and being able to read them again and again - makes an enormous impression. Tell them how proud you are to be a part of their lives and that no matter what happens in life, you will be there for them.

Let them know that you hope to spend more time with them and outline specifics: "I want us to plan to go for a long walk together at least once a month."

Tell them about your concerns about how they are developing. In short, give them a gift that will last a generation.

Larry Ginsberg is co-author of Small Business, Big Money, and can be reached by E-mail at
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