Dei - The Real "mommy Track": Buying A Company?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK | Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Case study: A top salesperson starts a successful training business and recruits her husband as CFO

Stacia Skinner knew that she and her husband Steve had to talk.

"We had to reevaluate things, and come up with a win-win situation for everybody," says former commission salesperson. "My experience is that, no matter what you do in life, if you don't set the priorities correctly, you're not going to be happy. And our priorities were wrong. "Skinner's husband was working 12 hour days as a professional chef in an upscale restaurant, and she was feeling stretched thin as a senior sales executive for a major national training firm, D.E.I. Management Group. "We were both exhausted at the end of the day," Stacia remembers. "We had no time left for our two boys, and no energy for each other, and that was a problem. "Together with her husband, Skinner built an escape plan. It involved flexibility, teamwork, and scrupulous time management, but it worked.

" We decided that the time had come for me to purchase a franchise and operate my own sales-training company," Skinner recalls, "and we agreed that it made the most sense for Steve to do the books and help keep the fires burning on the home front with the boys while I was out on sales appointments building my company." "We've been incredibly lucky," she continues, "because I've been able to build a standard workday into a supportive family schedule. I never would have been able to do it without Steve, and the new arrangement has been much better for both of us." Skinner bought a sales-training franchise from her former employer, and has emerged as one of the most successful franchisees in the franchise network. Her day starts early, with a trip to the gym, where she is in training for a 5K run for a local charitable cause, but it ends at a normal time that allows her to reconnect with her family. "I usually make it home by around 6:00," she explains. "I operate under the principle that if you stay at work and do everything there is to be done until midnight, you're not planning your time effectively.

The financial rewards of embarking on her own business, with her husband as bookkeeper, have been significant. Stacia recently received an award for superior sales performance from the D.E.I. franchise network. But the emotional rewards for the family as a whole have been just as important.

" Focusing exclusively on the career or exclusively on the family is a recipe for disappointment. There has to be a balance, a balance that everyone in the family understands, accepts and supports. That's what we've been able to build together over the last two years, and I'm very grateful. If we had simply kept doing what we were doing, I think Steve and I would both still be stressed out and everybody would be unhappy." The moral? Perhaps entrepreneurship with a helping hand from one's spouse can be the real "mommy track."

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DEI Sales Training Systems
888 7th Ave., 9th Fl.
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Phone: (212)581-7390
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