Do I tell my investor about a personal matter?

This article first appeared on October 11th, 2011.

Dear Aunty B,

I am hoping you can help me with a difficult problem.

I have been approached by a senior person in my industry to start a business with her backing me. I would be starting the business at the same time I am planning to have my second and last child. If it was anything like my first child it will be conceived the first time I try. I have good support from my husband and his extended family and I am an excellent planner and organiser, and know that I can hold down a big job while having a baby.

My question is this: do I tell her I am going to have a baby?

Or is that irrelevant and I tell her after the usual three months as this is a personal issue anyway?

I really want to start this new business as it is an opportunity of a lifetime but I also want to complete my family.

Do I tell?


Dear Do I tell?,

Are you nuts? Of course you tell. This isn’t a retail shift. You are going into business, taking in investment funds and that means you are entering a business marriage. That has its own set of rules which are that your business partners need to know about anything that is going to affect the business even if it is personal. The reason? You are running your business on behalf of shareholders and stakeholders (employees, suppliers, customers and their families). That comes with great responsibility and accountability.

You are also the CEO of your start-up. Businesses can’t run effectively without a CEO even for a few months, so anything that might impact on you doing the job has to be spelt out upfront.

Now of course you are thinking, can I do the job? Can you start the business and have your second baby? Of course you can. Why do I say this with such confidence? Because you are an excellent planner and organiser, and you have a good support system.

So sit your investor down and tell her that according to your plan you will be having a baby on such and such a date and here is your plan. Yes, it will be chaotic, but you will have two passions in your life: your babies and your start-up and that will see you through the difficult bits.

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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