Managing a business with your spouse

When couples excel at meshing their professional lives and finances, they are likely to create a thriving marriage. You can support each other professionally to ensure your individual income continues

  • PublishedMarch 14, 2014

When couples excel at meshing their professional lives and finances, they are likely to create a thriving marriage. You can support each other professionally to ensure your individual income continues to grow and plan your finances jointly to achieve the most favourable results. One way couples increase their wealth is through joint business ventures, whether full time or part time. However, this is not always an easy task to accomplish in marriage, but there are ways you can succeed as business partners if you are aware of the pitfalls.

It is common for couples to venture into business together to build their wealth or make ends meet, but there are certain things you need to bear in mind if you wish to succeed. If you want to work with someone to whom you are married, you have to have a solid marriage to start with. You have to love the person, trust and respect them. Otherwise if you don’t, you will have chaos in the business, upsets, and anger, and you will take these negative feelings home to the detriment of your marriage. Bear in mind when you are married to your business partner it’s not merely a colleague, but your husband or wife.

Marriage business partnerships don’t work for a lot of people because of lack of respect or trust and communication. Many couples avoid managing businesses together for fear of losing their marriage in the process. You really have to be on the same wavelength with your husband or wife and give each other freedom to pursue individual dreams and aspirations if you hope to succeed as business partners. You must also create room for individual growth.

It is important to fully understand the person you are married to if you are going into business together. True mastery and success in business collaboration enter the picture when couples can benefit from each other’s area of expertise. For example, one may be more qualified to manage finances while the other is better at marketing.  It is also important to understand and accept that you did not enter into marriage with the intention of becoming business partners, but first and foremost, life partners. Your marriage has to start with true love and have a good foundation if it has to progress into a business partnership.

Couples who successfully run business together usually say they love sharing all their adventures and are not afraid of failure. This is because businesses have many ups and downs and failures are not uncommon. Money can become a big issue especially where there is a loan involved and the business is not making money, or children who require school fees. Some couples go into business together out of a wish of spending as much time together as possible. They don’t want to remain in separate careers where their lives may remain disconnected because they share very little time together. These are unlike couples that may feel spending their days and nights together may be stifling and may not allow individual freedom and growth.

If you are planning to start a business together, it is important that you have the same ultimate goals. To know what these goals are, you must discuss them fully and ensure you are on the same wavelength. You must be prepared to forego certain things as you build your business. This will make some financial decisions easier and your visions for your lives and priorities more clear. You must be able to agree on the “needs” as opposed to “wants.”

You also must be prepared to adjust your lifestyle to fit in with your business.  For example, if you were used to a monthly fixed income from employment, this may not happen in business for a long time and you may have to cut back on some of your expenses. If you were also used to an eight to five job, your business may require you to put in more hours than you are used to.

Communication is the single most important thing that couples must practice if they want to achieve business success in marriage. You can’t keep anything to yourself when you are doing business together because it festers and turns into a problem. You must be able to share all your feelings, all your thoughts, and all you ideas, whether good or bad. You must be open with each other and learn to put all your thoughts, ideas and plans on the table for discussion. You also must be honest with each other, especially where money is concerned and relationships with your employees and other business partners.

You must also remain flexible with your business ideas and if your business plans hit obstacles, be willing to change course. Although unpleasant changes may become necessary when business failure stares you in the eye or money is not coming in, you should never question your business partnership, as this will be tantamount to questioning your relationship. If there is something major to be decided you must be willing to do it together. You should look for solutions without apportioning blame. You should also not compete with each other but let each one run with what they are best at.  If you have the same goals of getting a job well done in whatever business you are doing, you will succeed. You should also be quality minded, purpose to grow your business and make working together fun.

You should be able to fully achieve your objectives of being business partners and a married couple if you make your partnerships fulfilling. Don’t sacrifice either and always remember marriage came first. You must have your priorities right by understanding that you are both business partners and a couple and you must meet all your obligations without fail, including raising children if you have any. Children should never feel abandoned because their parents spend all their time in the business. While making money is important and having lots of money is good, money is nothing if you don’t build a solid family.

You must be able to distinguish where your priorities are and where one levels off and the next begins. Learning how to weave your personal life together when you work with your spouse, and also learning how to weave it together in business takes a little time but once you muster it, things flow smoothly. There are things you have to overcome as business partners and others you have to figure out together. But it should never be an issue doing business together if you work things right from the beginning as equal partners with a common goal.

Published on February 2013

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