Starting a business together is the vision for many couples. Not only does it allow a trusted partnership to pursue ambitions beyond the relationship, but who better to support one’s efforts than your own life partner. Fortunately, what was once a pipe dream for but a fortunate few, family partnerships are growing. With developing technology, the freedom of the internet, and ever-decreasing costs in start-up fees, it is becoming easier than ever to realise this dream.
Take advantage of emerging technologies
As working culture shifts from manual production to technical development, the world is not only seeing pacey development of online technologies, but software that can help keep a new business competitive, mobile and productive, all while keeping costs down. Dropbox alone has over 500 million users, with file-sharing and office technology, cloud services, and increasingly simple website building tools making it easier and cheaper than ever to not only setup a company in a matter of hours, but to compete with long-established rival businesses.
Furthermore, the internet provides a wealth of knowledge for any advice on starting up a company, as well as instantly connecting you with millions of potential customers.
Agree your shared goals
From the beginning, agree what success looks like to one another, so you can understand what the other thinks of as progress, and have regular meetings to ensure both sides of the couple are content. CreativeWhitt.com owners know how frustrating it can be to think the business is making great strides, only for one’s partner to express disappointment.
Equally, just as it’s important to agree a goal and a direction, couples should agree how much they are willing to risk and invest. Such safety measures will ensure you never take it too far and allow a wobbling business venture to damage an otherwise stable relationship.
Respect each other’s approach
It’s important to understand that, even when couples share a relationship, they may not share the same working patterns or preferences. If one prefers working with the radio on, while the other prefers complete silence, respect this and find a space apart. Remember why you are going into business together, and respect one another’s boundaries.
From the start, couples should make it explicitly clear that there is a separation between business and personal. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy your venture – that’s the whole reason you’re doing it, and a family business is one of the best ways to bring the enjoyment of a shared dream to work every day. However, it is also a lot of hard work, and can be all too tempting to lean more towards work when pursuing that work-life balance. Husband and wife owners of SweepSouth.com advise setting limits and agreeing times to close the laptop and shut off the e-mails.
Ultimately, it is important to remember why you are partners in life and in business: a shared passion for one another and a dream. Holding on to this will help overcome the difficult obstacles, while taking advantage of an increasingly connected world and accessible technology will help with the rest.