Going into business with a spouse can be just as emotionally fraught as going into business with siblings or parents. However, spouses in business together face a unique set of challenges.
In theory, spouses working together should communicate more than ordinary business partners and should be better at communicating with one another. However, this doesn’t always work out in practice. While it is critical to take time away from the business and pencil in personal time (during which your business should be completely ignored), when you are in “business mode,” you need to be direct. Although it may cause strain on the relationship, it is critical for your business’s health. Deciding on boundaries is necessary; however, some couples find it difficult to agree on what those boundaries should be. Boundaries can and do vary greatly from couple from couple and from business to business; however, having clear boundaries in place is the only way to have a successful business.
Protect the Relationship
If any business involvement with your spouse will work, you must prioritize the relationship first and foremost. It’s not worth putting your business first.
Protect the Business
Obviously, you’ll need an exit plan for retirement or if you receive an appealing offer. However, if you plan to leave the business for personal reasons, you’ll need a plan for that as well. How will you respond if relationship issues start to affect your business? What practices will you put in place to prevent that from happening?
As with any business, put everything in writing. It can be easy in the short term to neglect best practices; however, this inevitably becomes a problem in the long term.
It is certainly possible to build a healthy, successful business with your spouse while maintaining your relationship. Spouses can be the most trustworthy and reliable business partners. Nevertheless, there are obstacles that must be carefully navigated if you want to maintain a healthy relationship and a viable business.