Going into business with your spouse… It could be the thing that keeps you together or the thing that drives you apart. On the one hand, you get to share both your personal life and your work life together with the person you love most. On the other hand, you’re now together all the time. And even the happiest couple needs a break from each other once in a while.
You don’t want your partnership to end in a separation, even if it is a friendly divorce. So here are 5 things to consider before going into business together.
- Are you a micro-manager?
Do you think you can do everything better than your spouse? Or do you wish you had a say in everything? If this sounds like you, chances are high you are a micro-manager. Sharing a workload with a micro-manager is not easy. Some ideas for this personality type would be separating the responsibilities within the business. And then strictly adhering to your own responsibilities. For example, you do the book keeping, your partner does the inventory, etc.
- Do you have enough space for separate work stations?
A key to an amicable business partnership is whether you have enough space for separate work areas. Having a space where you can both work on your own is essential for having a smooth working relationship. You’ll both be less irritable by the end of the day, yet happy when your paths do cross as well.
- How are you under pressure?
You likely know your work style. Are you cool under pressure? Is your spouse? If you both tend to fly off the handle at the first sign of a storm, you will be in for some rough sailing. Were you previously considered the calm one when your spouse’s worklife erupted with drama? Sharing a business means that now you’ll both experience drama together at the same time. Consider whether you’ll be able to cope with work-related stress. Discuss coping mechanisms and how to combat work stress together.
- Do you have a sizeable nest egg?
Having two streams of income meant that if one of you lost a job, the other could cover until you got back on your feet. Now, you’re both in the same boat. Going into business together requires investment of capital into your venture. And with both of you no longer pulling in money from outside sources, you’ll need to consider how much you can safely invest in your business. Be aware that when your business takes a hit, it will affect your finances in a deeper way than before. Have a frank talk about your finances and evaluate if you are ready to take the plunge.
- Do you both know how to communicate through disagreements?
Going into business with your spouse defies traditional forms of business hierarchy. There is no longer a boss and an employee. Instead, you now have two bosses!
Being an equal partner in a business means that everything is up for discussion. Now is a good time to ask yourself how you and your partner do on resolving conflict. Can you work through disagreements to come to a compromise? Or do you both like to hold your ground and wait for the other person to yield? While it may not have seemed like such a big deal when only hashing out personal issues, working together means it’s going to come up twice as often. Will you both be able to learn how to negotiate, brainstorm, and reach understandings together? Work on that beforehand. Welcome disagreements as opportunities to become better communicators.
You would research a potential business partner before going into business with them, right? So it makes sense to carefully evaluate whether or not you and your spouse have what it takes to form a workable business partnership.