Running a business can be challenging on its own, but embarking on a startup with your spouse adds an extra layer of stress and anxiety that takes some extra effort by both of you to make it work. Here are five tips to building a successful business with your life partner, while reducing stress in your relationship:
1.Evaluate your skills and assign responsibilities
Before launching your business, make sure you sit down with your spouse/life partner and identify the skills you each bring to the table so you can assign responsibilities for a successful go-to-market experience.
With my husband’s manufacturing and IT background and my public relations and marketing experience, tasks were pretty easy to identify and own based on our skill sets. While my husband and I were equally involved in the design and development to the zoodi iPad case, my husband managed the manufacturing of zoodi, as well as built our website and is pretty much all things computer related. Since he is also the left-brained one in our relationship, we decided it was best for him to deal with the accountant and all things having to do with numbers.
As the creative, right-brained half of our relationship, my role was to manage the brand identity, logo development, color selection for the tablet cases, marketing materials and packaging design. Although the brand development of zoodi was in my wheelhouse, it was important to include my husband in the process and ask for his opinion on certain creative elements.
Communication is key when it comes to personal and business relationships. It plays an even more important role when your business partner also happens to be your spouse or life partner. To avoid over communication, set aside certain times throughout the day where you sit down and discuss business initiatives or challenges and work together on solutions.
Although the entire product invention process was pretty fun and exciting, there were times when my husband and I clashed on ideas and business strategies. The best advice I can give is to listen to each other. If there’s a disagreement over a business strategy, it is important to take a pause and listen to the reasons for the concern, so you can reduce tension down the road and not play the blame game when things go wrong.
4.Learn to Compromise
Throughout a marriage or romantic relationship you will experience many situations where it is just better to give in a little to keep the peace. Same goes for running a business together. I can recall a few disagreements on certain design elements of zoodi where we each gave up something to keep the product design process moving along. In the end, we are both pleased with the final design of our hands-free iPad case. Don’t be afraid to compromise with your partner, because you may end up with a better product.
5.Carve out “business free” time
When you own a business, it is difficult to not focus on it 24/7, but when you are in business with a spouse it is important to find time for what’s important – your relationship and spending time with each other and your family. My husband and I make it a habit to pick at least one day on the weekend where we try not to do anything business related. Sure, I may send out a tweet or post something on Facebook, but we save the big business conversations for the work week.
The key to making your business together a success and not end up damaging your personal relationship is to recognize that every business hits a few bumps along the way. You must stick together and remember why you embarked on the entrepreneurship journey, and if you work together toward the goal you set for the business, you’ll be successful.