Couples in Business: Navigating the Reality of Working Together
Family-owned businesses are a huge part of the American economy. Not only do they account for over half of the nation’s GDP, but they also employ over 60% of the workforce. While operating a family business is appealing to many, the reality is that behind many family businesses there is often a couple who has had to redefine their relationship to overcome many obstacles to find a balance that can allow both their business and relationship succeed.
This blog will cover the reality of nurturing your relationship while growing your business. I will highlight common problems that can drive couples in business apart while also looking at solutions that will benefit both your business and your relationship. This will help you decide if you want to take the plunge into making your life partner your business partner.
Where It Can Go Wrong
Blurred Lines Between Business and Romance
Starting a business is exciting, and times of growth and prosperity are energizing and fun. During these times, it might seem unnecessary to allocate work to specific times and places. However, when things get hard and business has become a part of all aspects of your life, it can feel like the hardships of running your business are inescapable and that your relationship is failing.
Lack of Direction and Work That Never Ends
Without setting clearly defined goals, it can be hard to know when to take a break, and when to reward yourselves. Furthermore, without clearly defining the goals that you want to achieve, you and your partner might have different understandings of how exactly your business is performing. This can lead to feelings that one person isn’t pulling their weight, or that one’s performance is inadequate.
Absence of Defined Roles
As your business grows it is natural for each person in the relationship to take on more responsibilities to keep the business operating. However, if the roles and responsibilities aren’t clearly outlined, it can lead to one person taking on too much, or worse, to necessary tasks getting forgotten. Your defined roles don’t need to be rigid, but before making a change, everyone needs to be on the same page.
How to Nurture Success
Allocate Times and Places for the Fun Stuff
Set times and places where work is strictly prohibited. This can differ for each couple; it might mean no working after 6:00 pm, or on the weekends. For others, scheduling time in your calendar for fun dates or relaxing breaks might be better. For those with home businesses, this can be difficult. It might be helpful to designate your bedroom and living room as a “no work zone” where you can go to leave work behind and focus on your relationship.
Set Goals and Track Them
Talk to your partner about setting weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Take the time to accurately track these goals. Some couples also like to plan rewards around these goals so that once they are met you can take a small vacation, or just treat yourself to a nice night out. Setting goals helps to manage expectations and keep everyone on the same page.
Be Clear in Your Communication
Being clear in your communication with each other is essential in both talking about your relationship and your business. This doesn’t mean that you have to be overly blunt or rude, but it means that you should discuss the problems you might be having. What’s more important is also mentioning the good things. If you like something your partner did, tell them!
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About the author : Darlene Gagnon
Darlene Gagnon is an award-winning entrepreneur recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners and is an Enterprising Women Inspirational Entrepreneur. She served on the board of directors for Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has mentored entrepreneurs and start-ups for over a decade. Her two companies, WeKinnect Global Branding Agency, and Kinetic Promotional Product Services have been recognized as “Best Places to Work” and “Largest Agency” by American City Business Journal. Both companies serve the US, Canadian, European, and Australian markets. Most recently induction to the $1 million dollar club with industry leader ipromotu.