Thursday, February 22, 2024

Starting A Relationship Is Like Starting A Business And Black People Are Failing At Both.

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Business, News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

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( When I wrote my book, Financial Lovemaking, I did it because I found that there are a huge number of similarities between money and love.   So, when teaching Finance to my students at Syracuse University, I would often explain financial concepts to them in ways that related to their day-to-day lives, not just the humdrum stuff that you might see on the Bloomberg channel.

We’d be lying if we didn’t admit that black love is struggling to survive in too many of our relationships:  Parents split up before the baby is born, kids don’t have the same parents as their siblings, and there are a whole lot of damaged souls that love the idea of mating with another person, but don’t have a clue about what it takes to survive within a healthy, happyHappy Couple relationship.

So, after giving it a little bit of thought, I wanted to share five ways that starting a relationship is like starting a business:

1) Both require huge investments:  Most of us think about investing from a financial standpoint.  But actually, most of the investing you do in life is non-financial.  Anytime you allocate a scarce resource toward a stated objective, you are making an investment. So, when you choose to invest your heart, time and energy into another person, you’re investing in them the same way that someone on Wall Street invests in a new company.  So, in both cases, if you have nothing to give or invest, then you probably won’t get a return on your non-existent investment.  That’s just a fact.

2) Both incur substantial risk:  Risk is a part of life.  Also, the old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is true in almost every aspect of life, financial and otherwise.  So, those who are risk averse and afraid to trust are typically not going to find much love in their lives, primarily because they are not willing to make the investments necessary to make love happen.  Imagine someone starting a business, but being afraid to invest their money.  Now, imagine if they walked away every time one little thing went wrong?  That person would probably never become a successful entrepreneur and would probably make for a horrible partner.

3) Both require daily work and additional investment in order to keep them going:  Relationships are not built and sustained by one magical, passionate moment.  Instead, they are built with the day-to-day toil through all of the practical challenges one must overcome in order to stay on course.  Loving together means living together, and most people don’t get that.  It’s not about having problems, it’s all about how you go about resolving them.

4) They both come with unforeseen surprises that create forks in the road:  When you run into an obstacle or a series of them, you then have a choice: Do I abandon ship or do I continue forward to my destination? The decision to continue forward in the face of adversity is what separates successful ventures from the unsuccessful ones.  When a student starts college, he doesn’t say, “I plan to go to college until I have a bad week.”  Instead, he fights through any and all challenges because he knows that quitting is not an option.  Can you imagine what would happen if people approached marriage in the same way?

5) Both require knowledge, skill and training:  The funniest thing in the world is that people will start relationships based on physical and emotional sparks, without thinking for one second about the practical realities of what it might be like to build a life with that person.  People get married and have kids without reading one of the thousands of books that have been written on the subject.  Making any venture successful typically requires that you study the framework, your partner and the situation you’re in so that you can understand how to achieve your goals.  Going into any situation blind, whether it’s a business or a relationship, is going to lead to disaster.  Can you imagine someone starting a Carpentry company without knowing how to use a hammer or a drill?  That’s how a lot of people approach relationships and raising children. 

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



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