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4 Tips For Running a Successful Business With Your Spouse

Upon first glance, starting a business with your spouse can seem like the ideal opportunity. You get to spend more time together, make money, and build your own company with someone you implicitly trust. If you have an amazing marriage, you should be just as successful at running a business together, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Just because you’re compatible in life and love doesn’t mean you’re going to be compatible in a working relationship, too. The rewards can be incredible, but if things go wrong, such jointly-run ventures have the real potential to ruin both your business and marriage.

Though running a business with your spouse can be just as—if not more—challenging than maintaining a marriage, plenty of people have done it with incredible results. The following 4 tips are a few of the things that set the most successful couples apart from the rest.  

1. Clearly define your roles and responsibilities

One of the biggest areas for potential conflict is when you and your spouse try to run every area of the business without clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Such an unstructured arrangement is practically guaranteed to cause arguments, as each spouse seeks to do things his or her own way. It’s also extremely inefficient, fostering needless redundancy, which wastes both time and energy. 

To avoid this, divide up the decision-making power, tasks, and responsibilities in a way that takes advantage of your individual strengths and personalities. By clearly defining your roles based on areas in which each of you naturally excel, your differences can serve to complement, rather than impede, your business’s success.  

2. Put the terms of your business relationship in writing

From defining your individual roles and responsibilities within the business to stipulating how the company will be dissolved should you get divorced, every agreement you and your spouse make about the business MUST be put in writing. Even if you trust your spouse more than anyone and have a mutual understanding about how things should be done, put it on paper anyway.

Just like taking vows and signing your marriage license solidified your romantic partnership, you want to treat your business partnership with an equal level of formality. All terms and conditions of your business’ ownership, operation, and dissolution should be laid out in properly drafted legal agreements and signed by you both in advance. The very process of creating such agreements will let you know if you’ll be able to work together to build a business. 

Because such agreements are so critical and often quite complex, NEVER rely on generic business contracts you find online. Whether you need new agreements created or have existing ones that need review, we can ensure the agreements governing your business relationship are sound and current with our state’s laws. And we can help you navigate with ease the inevitable conflicts that are sure to arise in the process. 

3. Create separate workspaces

If you’re in the beginning stages of marriage, spending every waking hour together might seem like a wonderful proposition. Yet in reality, it’s not healthy for any relationship, business or otherwise. No matter how much you love your spouse, working long hours together each day and then going home and spending your free time with the same person can actually weaken your bond, rather than strengthen it.

This is especially true if you’re working from home, where the lines between work and home life can get blurred to the point of vanishing altogether. To remedy this, you should consider establishing separate office spaces that give you the breathing room to develop your own work routines, without stepping on each other’s toes. 

While you may not be able to afford an outside office right away, consider using a co-working office space in the meantime. These communal work environments are often fairly inexpensive and provide an opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people, and maintain your sanity.