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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Friday, February 14, 2020

Top Tips for Business Owners Contemplating Divorce

Are you into podcasts? The on-demand digital lectures are growing in popularity. People enjoy being entertained or educated while they commute, clean the house, or do other tasks. Cell phones and smart speakers make listening easy, and you can’t beat the price — free.

One of the most popular podcasts out there is a show called How I Built This, which is hosted by NPR’s Guy Raz. Raz “weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built.”

Business leaders of all sorts come on the show to chat with Raz about their rise from someone with a good idea to someone who made it big. Raz is great at making what could be boring business class fodder into a compelling story that you can’t stop listening to. One of the things Raz does particularly well is getting these serious business folks to tell really revealing personal stories.

Tips for Business Owners Considering Divorce

As a divorce lawyer, my ears always perk up whenever a guest talks about how getting divorced impacted their business. Below are some of the tips I have gleaned from listening to this podcast that I think any business owner contemplating divorce should consider.

Divorce as Inspiration

In the episode “Chicken Salad Chick: Stacy Brown” Raz gets Brown to talk about her inspiration for starting Chicken Salad Chick. It all started when Brown got divorced and needed a way to support her three young children. She had previously been a stay-at-home mom, so she says she had to quickly figure out something she was good at what she could offer to the world. The answer was chicken salad.

This is such a great story, and it is really indicative of what a lot of newly divorced people are going through. They are trying to rebuild their personal lives, and support their family, but they may also be searching for a new professional identity. Our firm has helped several newly divorced clients start new businesses, just like Brown did.

Growing a Business Takes a Toll

In the episode “Burt's Bees: Roxanne Quimby” we get to hear a bit about Quimby’s relationship with Burt. Burt was a bee-keeper in Maine, and Quimby offered to help him out. She then started selling candles and natural beauty products made with Burt’s honey and wax. The two became a couple, but later split up and split the business up.

Quimby talks about her decision to expand the business far beyond what Burt ever imagined. It is not clear if that is what led to the couple’s break-up, but growing a business always puts significant stress on relationships.

Take Care of Yourself

Most of the most heartbreaking episodes of HIBT features the late Kate Spade. In the episode, she talks about how she and her husband met, fell in love, started a handbag company, and later got married. The show was recorded just months before Spade took her own life, reportedly because her husband was seeking a divorce.

Getting divorced is hard. Running a business is hard. It is important to take time to take care of yourself if you are doing either or both of those things.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

In nearly every episode of the show, there is a story about how the founder reached out to an advisor, mentor, or a group of friends to help get their business off the group, or out of a slump. It’s a good reminder that nobody can do everything alone, even highly successful business owners.

If your marriage is struggling, and you are looking for advice or a helping hand, we are here for you. Please contact our office at any time.


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