Is it a good idea to go into business with your spouse?
Can life partners be good business partners? Let's take a closer look at what you need to consider before venturing into business with your spouse
Filipinos have this popular notion that going into business with friends is a bad idea, as you risk ruining your relationship if the venture doesn't turn out well. But what if your business partner would be your partner in life? Would taking the risk be worth it?
A business venture is a risk in itself. It could go either way: you could succeed and prosper or you could fail and in effect, put strain on your relationship with your business partner.
Before going into business with your spouse, it will help to follow the advice of someone who's experienced it, like entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Harry Lerner, who wrote about how making his wife his partner in business felt like he was "juggling two marriages at once."
Writing from experience, he recommends first asking yourself some important questions before going into business with your husband or wife.
1. Will you both be equally 'invested' in the business?
This just doesn't mean that you need to both contribute equal amount of capital, but that you are both willing to commit to making an effort in establishing your planned venture. Are you both ready to devote the time and energy it takes to build a business up from scratch?
2. Do you know what roles you both will thrive in?
For a business to work, you both must be confident that you'll thrive in roles best suited for you, but you must also be willing to go the extra mile and do things that aren't necessarily fun, especially in the early days.
If it's not working, you both must be willing to adapt and switch roles.
3. Do you have a unified vision for your business?
If you clash with the way you see your business early on, it might spell disaster for your new business. Make sure your goals are aligned in order to move forward and increase your chances of succeeding.
4. Do you truly respect one another?
In business, as in marriage, you need respect and trust to make it work. Respect is just as hard to gain back as trust when it is lost. Before becoming business partners, you should consider the many challenges that could test your relationship. You may disagree on how to run things, or form resentment towards one another over a business-related squabble. If your business takes off, you could even respect each other more.
What's important is to remember the love you have.
Dave Kerpen, NY Times bestselling author who founded Likeable Media with his wife Carrie tells Inc. magazine that it's remember for spouses who are business partner to remember that they love each other and that should always come first no matter what.
5. Are you capable of switching off 'business mode'?
Are you capable of switching from being a business partner to a loving life partner in an instant? If so, you are most likely ready to run a business with your better half.
You can also prepare yourself by trying new ways to be more connected, in order to make the transition easier, like this Happiness Project Relationship Challenge.
Once you decide to make the leap, remember to acknowledge and embrace the uniqueness of this new stage of your relationship. Lucky Gordon, who founded The House Label with her husband Shaun tells Inc. that you both must be willing to do the work, distinguishing it as requiring a whole new set of skills, sensitivity, and commitment.
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