Audio Visual Bend – A Story of Spousal Success in Business
Marriage is hard work. Business ownership is hard work. Owning a business with your spouse is really, really, really hard work. I (Lauren Breslin) began this blog post with an idea to feature Christine (Chrys) Sprando’s female role as a business owner in a male dominated AV industry. However, after just a short time into our interview, my focus clearly shifted to the ways in which Tony and Chrys partner together, personally and professionally. It seems they were destined to be entrepreneurs. Over the course of these last 2+ decades, they have raised three sons, grown a successful business receiving both local and global accolades, and have managed to maintain a thriving marriage. To me, this is very, very impressive.
Reader’s Digest featured an article that coincided with this topic – 6 Tips to Work Successfully with Your Spouse. I will weave these tips with Chrys’ own words and experiences in hopes that you will benefit from both.
- Separate home and work. According to Chrys, she and Tony are purposeful about leaving work at work. At home or on date nights, they are intentional about their conversations. She jokes that occasionally the work day may begin extra early at home, but that’s only occasionally.
- Always be respectful of one another. Recognize and respect each other’s roles and gifts in both the marriage and the business. Chrys included the term “grace” as well. She emphasized the importance of extending grace to each other when “things” don’t happen as planned.
- Find ways to maintain your individuality. As referenced above, sometimes the Sprando’s work day begins earlier than normal over the breakfast table. However, Chrys was quick to share that this doesn’t happen when she is out the door for a morning swim. Even though Tony and Chrys work closely, it is evident that they both give each other space to pursue individual activities.
- Maintain separate working spaces.
- Work in different departments or divisions.
Both of these are easy to accomplish when one spouse is always out in the field (Tony), and the other spouse is the CFO (Chrys). Truly, Chrys’ administrative responsibilities are what ensures Tony and his team are kept busy with customer service calls and new client consultations.
Additionally, their two roles complement each other to ensure both service quality and customer satisfaction. With Tony and his team managing operations, Chrys can confidently follow-up with customer billing, payments received, and timely and accurate compensation to their employees and contractors. Integrity is very important to the Sprando’s.
- Marriage comes first. The common goal for this family is to keep the business running so they can keep the family running. While AV Bend has been a wonderful source of income, Chrys shared that even in the high-pressure early years, Tony prioritized their family. He made an extra effort to set office hours so he could be home with her and the boys in the evenings and weekends. While many new business owners hit the networking scene after hours, Tony trusted in word-of-mouth referrals to maintain and grow his business. His strategy worked, both personally and professionally.
Finally, one last piece of advice Chrys would highlight is to have fun! Enjoy each other, enjoy your customers, enjoy your business. Be silly, be goofy. Well-timed comic relief is always welcome.
Cheers to that!
Lauren Breslin, AV Bend’s Social Media Coordinator