For Couples Running a Business Together: 7 Tips
Maybe you are thinking about starting a business with your spouse or maybe you are already running a business together, either way running a business is stressful.
Having a small business with your spouse is often a romantic conversation couples have when they are first falling in love. But the reality is that if you want to achieve business success together, then planning and learning to juggle your business and life is work.
Here are 7 tips to help you achieve success together:
1) Make sure you are on the same page: Most couples have figured out their strengths together. However, they may not have the same business acumen or no business skills at all. Learning to run a business together means both of you having the same basic business intelligence. This will help you both have discernment when making business decisions.
You don’t need to have an MBA from Wharton or Harvard, but strong basic business intelligence makes you stronger together and helps you grow your business together.
2) Be respectful and kind to each other: The minute emotional cruelty comes into your business environment, you will begin to have power struggle. Blaming, demeaning or disrespect of any kind lowers your partner’s enthusiasm as well as their creativity, productivity and willingness to work with you.
It also stops others from wanting to work in your business. If you want to keep your top talent, you must create a good working environment. Power Couples are respectful of their spouses and partners. You will become stronger together and more successful when you both really work at being respectful, supportive and kind to each other.
3) Don’t argue or make disagreements public: A public disagreement creates low productivity and office tension. There is a level of decorum that any successful business has as part of its best practices. The best companies have good working environments. When you argue at work, you create a hostile environment to work in. Your business will not grow in this environment. If you bring your disagreement public you lose the respect of the persons listening to you fight and complain.
Instead, have a place you can go to in order to work through a disagreement and have agreements about how you will treat each other at your place of business. Even if it is in your home office public disagreements creates low productivity.
4) Remember why you started a business together: This will be important when times are stressful. If you’re in the startup phase of your business, your life together will most likely be out of balance for a while and this can be stressful. However, just remember that you didn’t go into business to make your life worse.
You went into business so that you could have an overall better life but this happens over time, not overnight. It takes systems, planning and leadership over time and your business will help you both achieve success long-term.
5) Be prepared for the long haul: Don’t expect to be an overnight sensation. The “If you build it they will come,” is only for baseball in cornfields. Too often business opportunities are sold as get rich quick schemes, meaning a 1 to 2 year plan to become millionaires. Sure this could happen. However, it is not the standard. A very small percentage of couples are an overnight sensation in their business. If you expect this you will add unneeded stress on yourselves. Be prepared for the long haul and know that if you plan and are consistent over time, you can achieve success together.
6) Choose the final decision maker: If you are at odds on a decision, you need to know, ahead of time, which of you will get to make the final decision. If you don’t, you will have unnecessary arguing and keep going round and round on the topic. You will lose valuable time and lower productivity. Instead one of you must make a choice and get back to business.
As the decision maker, it will be important to take into consideration what your spouse has to say. If you don’t, you may have a resentful spouse on your hands. Before making your decision, sit with your spouse and say, “I have taken your position into consideration and I understand that you think or feel as if we should move in this direction. It’s been a tough decision for me because your points are valid, however, as the final decision maker, I am moving in this direction because I think it is our best course of action.”
You will become stronger together if you both understand ahead of time who will be the final decision maker.
7) Define your values: If you do not want to own a business that you do not align with, you need to state it up front. If you don’t want to have a liquor store or porn websites, make that known to your partner. It’s great if you have wonderful skill sets, but it’s empowering when you have great skill sets and a business that aligns with your values.
Running a business with your spouse can be stressful however, it can be rewarding in ways that most couples never get to experience. Just remember that if you apply these 7 tips, you can achieve success together.