Married, and Business Partners Too

Rick Raimondi

Husband-wife duos are behind many successfully owned family businesses. For some, this kind of an arrangement may seem ideal; to others, maybe not. So how do you know if starting a business with your spouse is for you? Here are some pointers:

If you and your spouse choose to collaborate in your professional lives, both of you must be willing to share not only your domestic lives, but also work problems. Those couples that are successful in such an endeavor usually have a strong marriage to begin with, and their compatibility lends itself to running a business. Often however, the stress of having to share nearly every responsibility can become too much, and either the business will fall through, or the marriage will. So, if you do not feel 100% comfortable with the idea, it is probably not for you.

Couples who balance each other out in daily life especially tend to find that they can work well together. If you and your spouse find yourselves running the household comfortably and efficiently, being business partners may be a good idea.  It can be convenient to always be able to switch gears and talk about work when needed, and arguably the best aspect of working with a spouse is that they understand what you’ve been through at work at the end of the day, and can empathize. Having a coworker who is just as committed as you to domestic concerns (such as raising children) will play in your favor when those duties call. Working together can also foster respect and admiration for one another that perhaps would not have come about were it not for a work situation.

Things to keep on guard for are when spouses find themselves incapable of switching to “at home” mode at an agreed time, and focus on work 24/7. Seeing one’s spouse at all times of the day may sound romantic, but it may fast become irritating (agree? disagree?) In fact, one of the greatest dangers of working with your spouse is that the marriage can transform into an “all business” relationship.  Let’s face it, even when you don’t work with your spouse, keeping the romance in the marriage is a full time job in and of itself. This may be good for the bottom line, but not the marriage.

Ultimately, starting a business with your wife or husband depends on your goals and surprisingly, strengths and weaknesses.  It’s best that the two have complimentary skills, for example, one is great with numbers and the other is great in sales.  For tasks that need to be done but neither wants to do, the solution is simple.  Don’t fight over who needs to do that task, just hire a part timer to do it.  Then you both feel like winners (and shrewd entrepreneurs) and at the end of the day, can enjoy a romantic sunset!  For couples that have succeeded in running a business and for those who have not, what would your advice be?


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