Who’s the Boss?

How to succeed in running a business with your spouseWhen you and your spouse got married, you made a vow to stand behind each other in good times and bad. Today, an increasing number of married couples are making another commitment – a commitment to running a business together.

Of course, like marriage, a successful business venture takes more than just hard work; it takes mutual respect and compromise as well. So how can you and your spouse create a successful enterprise without destroying the love and admiration that brought you together in the first place?

With a little planning, you can make the process of being in business together easier:

  • Define your roles. Before you begin working together, take an honest assessment of your mutual strengths and experience. Then, assign roles and responsibilities to each of you. The last thing you want to do is step on each other’s toes.
  • Keep work separate. One of the biggest challenges facing business owners, particularly those who work from their homes, is separating work and personal lives. Make sure you establish set business hours. Then, set aside time each day when you are not allowed to discuss business.
  • Involve employees and advisors. Because you and your spouse may share a lot of the same values and experiences, your decisions may sometimes be biased. That’s why it’s a smart idea to involve employees or outside business advisors. Consider starting an advisory board to guide you in decision-making. Your advisors can help you and your spouse be objective and to settle business differences.
  • Give each other space. Depending on your workspace, it may be a good idea to keep your offices apart. If you’re working in a home office, consider having one of you work upstairs and the other downstairs. This just allows each of you to have your own space.
  • Keep your differences out of the office. Your clients and associates want to know that they’re dealing with a professional business. There’s nothing that will scare a client away more than you and your spouse fighting over who forgot to take out the trash.

Building a successful business together can be a wonderful way to enrich your marriage. However, it isn’t for everyone. Before you make it official, sit down with your spouse and put all your concerns on the table. Commit to discussing problems regularly and to admitting if it isn’t working for you. After all, you have a lot more at stake than just money.


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