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The Idea of Bringing Your Spouse into Your Business

by Thursday Bram on September 29, 2010

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Categories : Small Business




The idea of working with your spouse or significant other tends to be appealing: after all, if you love a person, what would be better than spending more time with him or her? But the reality of working with your significant other may not be so simple. Before you decide to bring a loved one on board at your business — or partner with your significant other to start a new business, it’s important to go over the practicalities of the situation.

Unequal Partnerships at Work

It’s a rare business when someone isn’t ultimately in charge. Even in most partnerships, there is someone who, at the end of the day, makes the decisions. There simply isn’t another option: if you have two people giving instructions, it’s far too easy to be pulled in two different directions. It doesn’t matter if that partner is your significant other — someone has to be in charge of your business.

That can be tough on a relationship. If you’re in charge, you have to run things in a way that won’t get you in trouble after you leave the office. If your significant other is in charge, you have to be able to take orders — even if you have an entirely equal partnership at home. When you add in the fact that you’ll have to handle outside views of your relationship, that can turn into a rough situations. What if a client tries to play you off of each other to get a better deal? Or what if a friend starts making jokes about who’s running things in your relationship? That can be an added stress on both your relationship and your business.

Making a Place for Your Spouse

Depending on your business, your significant other may be a perfect fit. He or she may have exactly the skills you need in the next person you hire. Then again, though, you may have to train your significant other the skills necessary to come into the business or otherwise make a place for your loved one. That can put strain on your business. If you’re in a position where you can (or even need) to hire someone with skills already up to your standards, bringing in someone who can’t keep up — no matter how dear that person is to you — can create some problems with your business. While there is always a learning curve for new employees, you can’t let that curve get too steep, even for your significant other.

You have to be honest with both yourself and your significant other when considering adding him or her to your business. Doing otherwise can cause problems for both your relationship and your business. If your business has to support both of you, you can’t afford even small problems brought on by your relationship coming into the office.

Image Attribution: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

Editor’s note : Additional resources on this topic

Network  Solutions’ Small Business Success Index

Does spouse participation help or hurt?

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