Go With Your Instincts: Why it’s not always a good idea to separate personal and business decisions

|  November 21, 2013 |

Magnolia Landscape’s Matthew Gilligan with daughter Kiley. Credit: Amy Materson

Magnolia Landscape’s Matthew Gilligan with daughter Kiley. Credit: Amy Materson

Possessing the ability to make good decisions is obviously crucial when running your own business, but good instincts are just as critical.

Take Matthew Gilligan of Magnolia Landscape, for example. Gilligan is one of our sister site Total Landscape Care’s 12 finalists for the Landscaper of the Year program, and I visited and interviewed him and his wife Kristen at their home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Not only does the couple possess the necessary decision making skills to run a successful landscaping company, they’ve made a series of savvy personal decisions that has positively impacted their business.

One highly effective decision the Gilligans made in their personal life ended up being a progressive business move, as well. Originally based in Newport News, Matt and Kristen decided to relocate to Kristen’s hometown of Virginia Beach while expecting their first child, Savanah.

Although the decision was a purely personal one that was based more on school systems and support systems than Matt’s job, following their instincts allowed the couple to blossom as business owners.

Today, one of Matt’s long-term clients is the HOA in the very neighborhood the couple chose for Savanah, and now younger daughter Kiley, to grow up and attend school in. And their business? Friends and neighbors are now clients, and Magnolia Landscape is growing at a rate of about 20 percent a year.

The visit clarified for me that a complete separation between personal and business decision making can at times be limiting.

For company owners, the temptation to keep the business decision making in the boardroom is tempting, for no other reason to have a break and enjoy your family. However, as the owner of the firm, you have the freedom and autonomy to follow a good instinct – particularly one that impacts your family and home life.

As Matthew and Kristen Gilligan realized, what’s good for you and your children may also be just the thing to give your company the boost it needs.

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