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Successfully starting a business with your spouse

Starting a new business is a tough task on its own. There are many challenges you will face, but when you decide to do it with your spouse, there are a different set of challenges. When you go at it alone, you only have your own vision for the business to be concerned with, but when you are working with your spouse – it can get somewhat complicated.

However, it is important to remember that many couples have managed to start up and operate successful businesses. If you and your spouse are at this juncture of a business, keep in mind the following five useful guidelines:

  • Have clear roles and responsibilities – You should literally write down who does what within the business. It will help avoid each of you stepping into the other’s territory, and ensure there is no conflict when it comes to decision making.
  • Divide and conquer – Obviously, one of you is better at certain things than the other. If one is better with numbers, he or she can be in charge of the finances, and if the other is a great people person, he or she can handle customer service. This means each of you has to trust the other when it comes to their delegated area of expertise.
  • Separate work and personal hours – This is very important, as it helps you separate your work and personal lives. Bringing work home should be avoided as much as possible. Barring emergencies – work time should not be sidelined for personal and related tasks.
  • Create individual spaces – If possible, have separate offices. If you are working from home, one could work in the garage, and the other in the dining room, for instance.
  • Set communication rules – When talking about the business, set up a meeting as you would with a co-worker or client. Make your preferred mode of communication known, so that you use tools such as email, or organisational chat tools such as Slack and Skype when talking about business.

Starting and running a business with your spouse is both exciting and stressful. Because you are getting into a business partnership with someone you are in a long term relationship with, it is easy to mix your personal life with business. This can, unfortunately, be detrimental to the notion of building a solid enterprise. However, separating these two can be the key to successfully starting a new business with your spouse; one that can grow from strength to strength.

Proudly brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).