In Business With Your Spouse
Secrets of successful husband-wife businesses and how to find the perfect marriage-business balance. In Business with your Spouse: Secrets of Successful Husband-Wife Businesses For some, the notion of working with a husband or wife is a desirable personal and professional scenario. If this partnership works well, husband-wife businesses are spectacular. However, if it does not work out, it can be devastating for the company and the marriage. But what do you need to consider when it comes to setting up a business with your life partner? Some husband and wife-run firms are household names: CLIF Bar, CISCO, Flickr, Slideshare, Bebo, FIJI, Eventbrite Find the marriage-business balance One-third of all family businesses are operated by husband-wife teams 13.6% of US small businesses are couple-owned 24 years is the average life span of a husband-wife business 1.2 mio of US small businesses are couple-owned >40% are passed on to the second generation Pros: When it works, it’s a beautiful thing - Balancing skills and personalities adds richness and romance to a marriage. - Respecting and admiring each other helps blurring the lines between work and home. - Sharing enthusiasm gives you a lot to talk about. - Being proud of each other makes you feel better about your spouse. Cons: If it does not work, it’s a train wreck - An uneven power dynamic can cause tensions in the office and at home. - Issues of hierarchy may creep into the relationship. - Hiring can be an obstacle for husband and wife teams. - Investing in a husband-wife business looks risky. The secret recipe to make it work: 1) Establish roles and responsibilities based on each other’s strengths. 2) Seek a sounding board and outside counsel. 3) Define roles at work and leave the intimacy issues at home. 4) Don’t let work take over your home life. 5) Carve out space for yourselves – apart from your business. 6) Communicate honestly and openly, even when that might hurt. 7) Remember that you are both on the same side. 8) Working in separate spaces can save your sanity. 9) Start with a strong relationship a spouse team isn’t for everyone.