Love and business aren’t exactly the kind of combo you’d expect when thinking about success. In fact, a lot of people believe that if you want to keep your business afloat, keep your spouse out of it. If you want to preserve your marriage, keep your company out of it. But interestingly, a lot of industries thrive because of husband-and-wife team-ups. At the same time, marriages remain intact as couples dedicate their energy to something profitable and purposeful. The truth is that making a love-relationship and a business work just boils down to good, respectful communication. If you have that at the heart of your bond, as spouses and business partners, you’re going to be okay. Neither of the two has to suffer.
Roles and Boundaries
The most important thing you need to do when pursuing a business with your spouse is to agree on the division of responsibilities. You have to know who does what exactly. It’s easy to have this talk in the first phases of the business, when only the two of you are working. However, in the long run, you’ll have to define boundaries better because there’s always that possibility of overstepping boundaries, causing confusion among all parties involved.
Take, for example, a small restaurant business. Your division of labor initially may be as simple as your wife being in charge of everything that’s related to food and the menu, and you on the business side of it. As your restaurant operations grow and as you hire more chefs and service crew, the lines between your responsibilities might grow a little blurred. For example, in the aspect of marketing, which is clearly your turf, your spouse may make meticulous demands on how the food is to be presented in flyers and billboards. You yourself may dabble into the types of ingredients your food prep team is using to cut down costs and stay on budget. Of course, you’re bound to go head to head on matters. It’s inevitable to have overlaps in divisions. But the point here is that if you don’t talk about the details of how you’re going to execute and manage things, your relationship can quickly slide into a power struggle.
If you’re indeed keen on entering the food service industry, it’s best if you can start with a proven model first. Try those Japanese restaurant franchise opportunities as they already have a blueprint for success. You’ll be able to identify immediately the areas that need focusing, what each entails, and how you and your spouse can fit in those areas.
The Big Vision
Not only should you and your spouse agree on the specifics of execution but also on the big vision. In most instances, couples start businesses with only a vague picture of what they want to accomplish. It’s almost always just about earning money to save up for kids’ college or pay off the mortgage fast. But as you immerse yourself further in operations, you aspire for more—or at least one of you. This is when things can get a little tricky. If you’re not clear on your dreams for your business, conflicts will happen.
If your spouse wanted the business to grow as a big, popular restaurant but you want to keep it low-key, you’re going to pull each other into two different directions. Your spouse will entertain all opportunities for making yourself known, while you yourself try hard to cater to a more focused audience. When you don’t address this early on, you might interpret each other’s actions as sabotage to your personal aspirations. While you’re talking about roles and boundaries, don’t leave out the bigger picture.
Again, it’s a matter of good, respectful communication to make love and business work. Therefore, before you take the plunge in perhaps the riskiest partnership you’ll ever make, consider first how well you and your spouse communicate. If you both are willing to commit to better communication, by all means, go run a company as a couple.