Recently we’ve featured couples who are merging business with marriage and making it work (see the Ishman & Lamb couples). A lot of people and companies still live by the old adage; “never mix business with pleasure.” Many couples though, are experiencing the unique set of rewards and challenges that come with working together and believe that the rewards are well worth those challenges.
Laura Smollar, a columnist for Inc.com, gives us 5 handy tips handy tips that can help couples who sharing both a home and work atmosphere overcome some of those challenges.
1. Risk tolerance.
Can the family tolerate the risk of two incomes coming from the same small business? What happens if a spouse dies? When my husband and I went into business together, we had to re-evaluate our life insurance coverage. Then there’s health insurance. With both of you on the payroll, your company can get a small business health plan, which is a great start. But make sure the coverage is adequate for your family’s needs.
In a related vein, how comfortable are each of you with business risk? If you’re not both cut out for the roller coaster life of a startup, the stress will impact you twice as hard as a couple. Think carefully and talk through this issue before you both lose a lot of sleep.
2. Roles and responsibilities.
Play to your strengths; divide and conquer. Setting out clear roles and responsibilities will be important as you add to your team, so that everyone is clear on who does what. Clearly-defined roles and responsibilities also help others view you as business colleagues rather than a couple. It doesn’t mean you can’t cover for each other in a pinch, but it does keep you from stepping on each other’s toes.
Smollar adds that [when working together],
Every decision, every cash flow crunch, every hiccup, is experienced together. Then you go home and try to change the channel to something more”...romantic. Easier said than done.
Read tips 3-5 and the rest of the article on Inc.com