Running a business with your spouse can be quite challenging, especially when you find it difficult to separate work from family. Find out how you can better manage such relationships
Division of labour
According to www.entrepreneur.com, in your personal lives, you may have a very casual division of labour (say, one cooks dinner and the other helps with homework), but it’s critical that you don’t let that stretch into your business life. Having specific roles and responsibilities is key and you must ensure your team members know who the ultimate decision-maker is to keep productivity flowing.
As owners and spouses, you must be steadfast when you divide the duties and then hold each other accountable. While either person can and should input on approach and strategy, there is no question on who makes the final call.
Setting work (and personal) hours
Create specific work hours (and non-work hours) as well as explicit meeting times to discuss the larger business metrics. When some first start out, they talk about business nonstop. But it’s better when they have a meeting on a specific day to review the week and brainstorm areas that need a bit more focus and attention. This is also the time to go through specific to-do lists for each other. While you can obviously talk throughout the week about what’s happening, you should save important conversations, such as the strategic marketing plan for your meeting. Do not discuss it over dinner or while bathing the kids.
Pretend you aren’t working together
Ask your partner how their day went. Don’t assume that because you are running the company together, you will each have the same experiences day-to-day. Focus your commentary not on the particular subject but on how your spouse is feeling about it. Try to act as if they have come home from work and you really don’t know how their day went and let them talk about it. Be supportive and don’t always try to fix their problems; sometimes, we all just need to vent. Lastly, don’t talk about work all evening or weekend. This may be the hardest but most important, thing to do.
Create your own space
Have your own working space and routine. Just because you work together doesn’t mean you have to be together all day long — that could be a recipe for disaster in the long run. Develop your own rhythm and routine and you would find out that you don’t need to interact much during the work day. While that may seem odd, it helps you to stay focused on your specific tasks and responsibilities and it’s ultimately more productive for the both of you.
Keeping the peace
There’s a famous joke that marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right and the other is the husband. If you are going to work with your spouse, you’d better learn to be diplomatic. It doesn’t matter what roles or titles or responsibilities you have; at the end of the day, you are going home together. You’d better learn to figure things out in a way where everybody wins, or at least, everybody is heard. One tip for when you run into an issue that you disagree on is to determine which of you has a stronger opinion on it — and give in to them. Having the ability to swallow your pride and compromise in these situations is a strength you will both come to appreciate.
When you are in each other’s company full-time, differences of opinion are bound to come up. As long as you have mutual respect and recognise each other’s talents, those differences are much easier to navigate. Remember that you both have the company’s best interest at heart even if you go about achieving your goals in very different ways.
Couples, who marry their work and personal lives, face a unique set of challenges. By balancing business and family, utilising each other’s strengths, and learning the art of compromise, running a successful company with your spouse is not only possible but can be the perfect way for a married couple to take their relationship to the next level.
Reap the rewards
Appreciate your unique relationship. The entrepreneurial lifestyle can be intense and having someone to share it with helps make it more manageable and also rewarding –sharing your passion for the business with the one you love can be powerful. Also, don’t forget to celebrate your successes together. When you reach important milestones or exceed your expected revenue for the month, it’s time to set work aside and toast your success. Whether it’s at home or out on the town, revel in your success. You deserve it.
When working with your spouse, remember that your professional success is tied to the same principles of personal success. You need to be true partners in order to thrive and prosper.
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