When starting a small business or launching a new product, it can be incredibly difficult to do so alone. Americans are encouraged to become entrepreneurs, and with good reason. Entrepreneurship built this country, and there is a great opportunity in starting your own company that isn’t available when you work for someone else. You’re able to be your own boss, and potentially pursue a passion project that really means something to you. This is difficult to find in any other job. But starting a new business often requires a business partner. Business partners can fulfill several different roles. They can literally work just as hard as their partner in the midst of the business; they can work behind the scenes on a creative level; or they can simply be more of a financial backer, without much of a hands-on approach at all. Entrepreneurs often find their business partners through conferences, pitch meetings, and other professional outlets. But you also might start a business with someone that you know on a personal level. In fact, some entrepreneurs are even bold enough to start a business with their spouses.
There are a lot of advantages to starting a business with your spouse. Obviously, you see that person every day, so it’s easy to find time to talk about business matters. For that matter, you’ll know more about their financial eligibility immediately, and will also, ideally, know your spouse well enough to know whether or not they are. a good fit. With that being said, there are other factors to consider if you’d like to start a business with your spouse. After all, about 70% of all business partnerships fail. The last thing you want is for your business partnership to fail, and for it to fail in a manner that affects the quality of your marriage. Let’s look into some of the tips you should pursue in order to maintain a business partnership that benefits your marriage, rather than harming it.
1. Maintain Your Boundaries
It can be difficult to run a business while at the same time being married to your business partner. Part of the reason why this can cause issues over time is that the two roles, those of business partners and those of marriage partners, can merge when boundaries are not maintained. In general, businesses need boundaries between different roles. It’s very important, for example, for there to be a segregation of duties and cash management during the running of a business. Not only does this segregation ensure that a business is run efficiently; it also lowers the risk of fraud. Of course, you and your spouse won’t have the intent to cross any lines when acting as business partners. But it’s easy to let a disagreement regarding your business to cause disagreements within the marriage if you stay mad after the workday is over. You need to have a kind of separation of church and state if you’re going to start a small business with your spouse.
2. Hold Team Meetings
A part of setting those boundaries means treating your business firmly like a business. Instead of having one on one meetings at the dinner table, you need to have team meetings that will involve not only the two of you but everyone else that is working on the business. These need to be focused on creating an air of work appropriateness and professionalism and will ensure that the two of you don’t inadvertently end up relying too much on each other rather than giving the rest of the team a voice. Of course, at some point, you two might make up the entire team. In that case, you still need to schedule regular team meetings, including an agenda, and keep careful records regarding them.
3. Be Brutally Honest
How committed to this business are you? How committed is your spouse? The two of you need to be honest about your commitment levels to the business. You cannot run a business if only one of you wholeheartedly believes in it, while the other is doing it just to appease their spouse. If one of you admits that it’s not something they’re fully committed to, this can be hurtful at first. But in the long term, it’s very much for the best. Resentment can build up if one spouse puts more effort in than the other, and with roughly 39% of American marriages ending in divorce as is, the last thing you need is any other kind of resentment entering your marriage. Furthermore, your spouse doesn’t have to be your business partner just because you love your business idea. They can support you in other ways, without having to see this as their passion project as well.
4. Respect And Trust Are Key
If the two of you do decide to commit to working together on a business fully, remember that though your boundaries are necessary, it can also be easy to be too hard on your spouse in the business world because you want to make those boundaries so clear. You need to make sure that they feel respected and trusted. Ideally, those boundaries when properly set will aid in this gesture. You have to make sure that even when you don’t see eye to eye, your spouse feels like you trust and respect them. It might be a good idea to set up regular couples’ counseling for this reason. The last thing you want is for your spouse to feel as if a business disagreement means that you don’t trust them. With co-working spaces on the rise, with 6,200 expected to exist by 2022, you want yours to be harmonious.
Running a business is always going to be challenging. While working with a business partner makes it easier in some ways, it can make this more challenging in others, especially when you work with a spouse. But if you make the extra effort to succeed together, being business partners with your spouse could be wonderful!