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Couples In Business

Planning to Stay Together

For Couples Who Work Together as Entrepreneurs

Business Couple"Mom and pop" shops, SOHOs (small office/home office) and young infopreneurial couples (such as, Ben & Mena Trott at Six Apart or Xochi & Michael Birch at Bebo) are all thriving as more couples than ever before are finding ways to work together. Such couple-owned businesses have their share of rewards--and challenges--as we (my wife Gail Terry Grimes and I, who work together in our FutureU.Com business) well know. To help others meet the challenges and make the most of the rewards, we have adapted the Future Search methodology of large-group facilitation (developed by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff [not a couple]) as a planning tool for couples and have made it available here.

We call it Planning to Stay Together.

The process takes place across three days and includes five sessions and nine major learning activities. The process usually starts on a Friday afternoon (Day 1) and concludes by the early afternoon of Sunday (Day 3). This event can easily be combined with a stay at a resort hotel or spa for vacation and company retreat combined.

The learning and planning activites include:

  • creating a shared history, part 1: a review of events and trends in the past that have brought the couple to where they are today
  • creating a shared history, part 2: examination of the implications of what they learn for the work they want to do together in the future
  • mapping important trends: creation of a map of the trends affecting them and the business in the present
  • priortizing actions: identification of which of those trends is likely to have the greatest impact on their future together in business
  • surfacing assumptions: sharing what, if anything, each of them is currently thinking or doing about these impactful trends
  • coming to agreement: about what they may want to do about them in the future
  • envisioning the future: developing a vision of the future that can be channeled into meaningful, specific actions
  • reaching common ground: indentfying and confirming their common ground agreements about all this
  • devising an action plan: identifying specific, needed actions based on the uncovered common ground
  • committing to take these action steps: agreeing to who will do what and by when

A Planning to Stay Together retreat results in an increased awareness of the need for business and marketing plans and serves as a great foundation for their completion.

Entrepreneurial couples report especially dramatic results from joining us for this three-day private retreat that culminates in a comprehensive action plan for their own future.

To express your interest in Planning to Stay Together, please telephone Gail Terry Grimes at (415) 824-7726 or send an email to gail[at]futureu[dot]com. Couples of all orientations are welcome.


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Books On Meaningful Work

Claude and Gail.Claude and his wife Gail Terry Grimes have long been thought leaders in the movement to bring back purpose and values to the workplace as demonstrated in their writing, including their books:

Cover from Mindfulness and Meaningful Work.Mindfulness & Meaningful Work: Explorations in Right Livelihood (Parallax Press, 1994), through which we helped introduce the idea of "right livelihood" to the English-speaking world.

Cover from Running a One-Person BusinessRunning a One Person Business (Ten Speed Press, Second Edition, 1994), in which we were among the first to call for a values-based "business-as-lifestyle" approach to entrepreneurship.

Cover from In the Company of Others.In the Company of Others: Making Community in the Modern World (Targer/Putnam, 1993) where we were early champions of the practices of "circles of intimacy" and grassroots marketing that have come to be known as "degrees of separation," "social networking," and "social marketing." Please visit an example of one of our social networks at, The Briarpatch and read about its long, fascinating history at Briarpatch.Net.

These books also document the development and describe the elements of Good Work Guidance, Claude's unique approaches to career guidance and coaching for people seeking a more meaningful work and life.

Today, Claude continues to offer individual sessions and group workshops by special arrangement. Scroll down to learn more about how you can benefit from the expert advice that comes from Claude's more than 30 years of experience.

Couples in business.

Executive Coaching.

If you are a manager or executive facing a job transition or looking for career guidance, we offer you private consultations in person or by phone or email. To schedule an appointment write or call 415-648-2667.

Career Coaching in Japan.

Hidetake Enomoto.We are excited by the pioneering work of our associate Hidetake Enomoto in bringing career coaching to Japan. Through workshops and one-to-one consulting sessions, Mr. Enomoto has helped many hundreds of Japanese professionals find greater meaning in their work. Through meaningfulWork.Com, he is available for cross-cultural workshops and teleconferences on new developments in the Japanese workplace. Please email for details. Mr. Enomoto's biography, is here, where you will also find links to his new projects that are part of the "Transition Towns" movement to help towns and cities prepare for the coming social, political and economic challenges brought on by "peak oil" production.


The Path to Meaningful Work is available as a one- or two-day workshop by special arrangement for groups of eight or more. To let us know of your group's interest, please write or call 415-648-2667.

Business Consulting.

Starting, expanding, or selling a business? To do it right, don't try doing it alone. Let us help. We can help you do well by also doing good. For information, please go here or write or call 415-648-2667.

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