When your business partner is your spouse it’s important to take extra measures to keep any work conflict from overflowing into your personal relationship. Whether you two disagree on the name of the company, who manages the money, or the best time to discuss company business, what’s at stake is not just the bottom line, but the marriage (or relationship). Even if your spouse isn’t a direct business partner, you need to take steps to mitigate your personal life from interfering with you business endeavor. Just how compatible is your spouse with your business startup or your existing company? Running a successful enterprise could very well depend on this.
Here are a few questions from SmallBizTrends.com that you need to ask of each other:
1. Does Failure Lead To “I Told You So?”
Is that what you’re going to hear if you fail at your entrepreneurial venture? If so, that adds an order of magnitude to the risk of starting, running, or growing your own business.
2. Can Your Spouse Handle Uncertainty?
Wavering over a new business, whether to start, when to pivot, or how to grow it is part of everyday life with an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you will dabble constantly with failure, possibilities, and “what-ifs.” Uncertainty, the classic state of not knowing, can be a real problem. So, how does your spouse feel about that? If your spouse is a security-seeker, he or she may not be able deal with seismic shifts in the business.
3. Can Your Spouse Handle Being The Sole Breadwinner?
Having only one income to carry the family can be a recipe for disaster, even if that income is steady and stable. Some people are emotionally fine with being the one that everything financially rests upon—at least temporarily until the business is profitable–and some are not. There’s no denying that a spouse who doesn’t buy into the dream of entrepreneurship adds to the risk of running a business.
4. Can You Consider Your Spouse A Co-Owner?
Some spouses take a co-owner role seriously. Some are creative energy sources for the fledgling startup. On the other hand, some mates keep a hands-off attitude and an arm’s-length distance. And more than a few entrepreneurs truly believe that their business is their baby, and will sink or swim on their efforts alone. You’ll hear opinions that range from “sit down together every week and evaluate how things are going” to “don’t bother your spouse with all the grisly details.”
Maybe you don’t want to torture your spouse with those massive swings of optimism and pessimism several times daily, as the future hinges on the smallest detail. But don’t let reality be a sudden surprise either.
5. Can Your Spouse Call It Quits On Your Business?
Once again, this answer is different for every relationship. Sometimes you can do everything right, and the business still fails miserably. Or maybe worse, it doesn’t fail, but it doesn’t really succeed, either. It bubbles and perks along slowly but without signs of imminent “takeoff” or of paying its own way in any foreseeable future. So, what then? Can your spouse tell you enough is enough and to fold up shop? If you’re starting a business and living a relationship, it’s worth knowing where the “line” is. Know how far you and your partner and/or family are willing to bend before you’re able to call a halt to the business with a clear conscience.