Have you considered going into business with your significant other?
Starting a business with your spouse can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating things you do as a launcher. Not only do you have the challenges of navigating the new business, but you have a relational aspect that can bring an entirely different set of questions and dynamics.
There will be highs and lows, times of celebration, and times of keeping your nose to the grindstone. You can smoothly ride the work and relational waves if you plan ahead and have clear guidelines.
So, if you’ve thought about going into business with your spouse, remember these four keys to help you plan and prepare.
1. Agree on the business plan and goals up front.
This will determine whether your working relationship will be positive or negative. It can quite possibly determine the success of your business. So first and foremost, agree on what you want to accomplish and how you want to build, run, and grow your company. Don’t forget to draw clear guidelines on who will perform what tasks. This can (and should) shift with time; but in order to avoid duplicate work or miscommunication, write down who will do what.
2. Map out a plan for launch.
Strategically plan where the financial resources will come from, whether it will be from your personal savings or from investors. Agree on how much of your family’s financial assets will help launch the business. Never tap into family funds unless it was agreed upon before.
Another important thing to map out for launch is your calendar. Set important dates like when you will put in notices to your current employer, whether that’s both of you at the same time or staggered. Pencil in when you will officially launch the business and dates for incremental business goals.
3. Set a vision for your family.
Starting a business takes a lot of time, energy, and mental capacity. In order to keep your spouse and children (and pets) from being neglected, write down and discuss the vision you have for your family. How does the business play into your dreams and goals?
If you have children, help them understand what you are doing as a couple and why this will benefit your family. If you can, include them on the startup even if it’s simple things like making signs or cute business cards.
On those tough days, remind yourselves of the overall goal. Reevaluate often to make sure you are not neglecting the needs of your family or your business.
4. Stay aligned in your vision.
You both bring unique talents and gifts, but don’t go wide trying to accomplish too many things. Stick to the goal of the organization, and utilize your unique talents towards that single mission.
Where strengths and passions intersect is your genius. That’s where you should focus your time and talent. Focusing on your sweet spot will bring more success in the long run. However, eventually you will need to own the business, and not run it. Empower others to fill the roles you and your spouse are currently fulfilling.
Starting a business is hard, especially if you launch with your spouse. The quicker you open yourself up and put these four action points to practice, the easier it will be. Before you know it, your business, your marriage, and your family will be closer and more successful than ever!