When you meet your one true love and you eventually get married, you look forward to a life together forever. You expect that they will be involved in every aspect of your life. Sometimes you even decide to go into business with them.
Owning a business with your spouse should be a great experience, right? But many people would advise that you refrain from mixing business with pleasure and keep your marriage away from your work, as it can introduce a unique set of challenges. Indeed, there is a chance that it may bring more harm than good. Running your business jointly with your spouse can take things to a whole different level; you just need to know how to manage it properly. With some ground rules and guidelines, you can avoid the possible challenges and turn the endeavor into a successful venture both personally and professionally.
If you considering going into business with your partner, here are some guidelines we believe you may find helpful:
Ensure each of you know your role in the business
You may be the kind of couple who like to go with flow or love doing everything together, and do not have defined roles in your relationship, but when it comes to business, it is important that each of you have a clear idea of what you are expected to do. For instance, at home, the husband and wife may both have turns cooking meals based on their mood per day and there is no certain expectation of who should always man the kitchen; but with business, you both cannot just decide that any of you two can do the bookkeeping when they feel like it. It will bring chaos and frustrate your efforts, eventually leading to the death of the business. You need to designate roles for each person, and ensure that you are both focusing on what you are best at. For instance, the wife may be better at accounting, while the husband might be more social and better at marketing. Separate the roles and give each other free rein in the designated areas.
Make it official, put the terms of your business relationship in writing
While you may trust your spouse and believe that nothing can ever break your love, remember that in business, there must be some ground rules. Documented rules that can be used as a reference at any time. Doing this ensures that the dynamics of your marital relationship does not spill into your business relationship. No matter how well you work as a couple or how well you understand each other’s role, put it in clear writing. On the official document, ensure you clearly include your job title, responsibilities, areas in which you each have absolute power to make decisions, and areas in which you need to both agree on decisions. This will also help you avoid cases of “he said/she said” in arguments…because there will be arguments.
Keep work and personal hours separate
Since you are married, you might be tempted to stay flexible and merge you’re your work hours with personal hours…you shouldn’t. Create specific hours for work and hours for personal matters, especially if you have employees. Try to avoid the hours overlapping. Ensure you have specific times to work and discuss business metrics and these times are different for date nights and other personal hours. While having your personal hours as well, try not to delve into business, save business conversations, such as the strategic marketing plan, for work hours. Also, try not to bring personal issues to the office. If you had a quarrel at home over who should have taken out the trash, your staff shouldn’t see you arguing about it at work. Arguing about domestic matters at work can even undermine your authority and ability to manage. Likewise, save the cute nicknames and other displays of affection for when you are at home.
Respect each other’s decisions and always listen to ideas with an Open Mind
Your roles are defined, and you have a clear idea of what each person should and should not be doing, please respect that. Also listen carefully to each other’s ideas and don’t rebuff your spouse when he/she proposes a strategy that you may not entirely understand. If you must, do so with facts.
Try not to second-guess every decision he makes, because you know him intimately, also try not to challenge her decisions because you are the husband and as head of the home, you really should be making all the decisions. Just as your personal relationship is founded on trust, so should your professional relationship. Lack of trust will bring heavy repercussions on both the business and your marriage. Stay committed to the business.
Photo Credit: Milkos | Dreamstime.com