Couples can use best practices to reach success in business, life
February 10, 2017 | A Love Story: Meet Iowa couples who've found success in love and business
As we near Valentine’s Day, the focus turns to couples. Not just couples in the romantic sense, but also in the operating a business with a significant other sense. At CLA, one of the largest segments of our business is dealing with entrepreneurial, privately held, family-owned companies. In many instances, these businesses are run by couples, some very successfully, some not so much. In our experience, there are some basic tips that set the couple-owned business up for success (many of the following are basic good business practices):
- RUN THE BUSINESS AS A BUSINESS, NOT AS A MARRIAGE.
While not “romantic,” documentation and process is critical to business success.
- This can include a buy/sell agreement (yes, even for couples).
- Job descriptions (see below). iii. Risk tolerance understanding.
- A strategic plan that establishes the joint vision of your business.
- SET SPECIFIC WORK HOURS.
Establish clear work hours and “couple time” hours. While a work conversation can, of course, pop up during couple time, make sure ground rules are established to minimize that. No significant other enjoys having a Saturday be interrupted by a work call. So if you happen to work with your significant other, the same irritation could be present if work is discussed.
- SEPARATE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Be sure to play to your individual strengths, discuss and establish who does what role and document. Ensure these roles are allowed to operate without interference. This can include responsibilities within the home as well. Trust each other and let your significant other flourish in their role while you flourish in your role.
- OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION
As with any good relationship, being honest, respectful and open in communication (and feedback) is critical. If there are business challenges to address, emotions need to be in check and conversations focused on solutions, and not on past actions.
- HAVE FUN!
Working with your significant other can be very rewarding. However, setting parameters up- front maximizes the potential for your business (and your relationship) to go for the long haul.