Couples In Business Together: 5 Things to Consider

by Pamela on April 14, 2015

Lay The Ground Work Now to Avoid Conflict Later

So you’ve decided to start a business with a partner- you want to be copreneurs. You come up with a business plan, set your goals, and work out your physical office space. It’s time to get to work and make your business successful. Now what?

Running a successful business is never easy. Fast money and working 4 hours per week is only a reality on the infomercials that you see at 3:00 in the morning (oh, and in the emails of the internet marketing people who bombard you with “get rich quick schemes” but that’s a topic for another day).

Running a business with your partner is even more difficult. It takes true team work. Team work is something that most of us learn as we make our way through school and into our professional lives. Team work is one thing, but copreneurs work together and go home together everyday, and that requires team work on steroids. Couples in business together have two personalities, two skill sets, two egos, relationships outside of work, and possibly a marriage and children. That’s a lot to navigate.

Most copreneurial challenges are overcome with hard work, determination, communication, and good business coaching.

My husband and I aren’t copreneurs. Based on how we get along and the fact that we have very different, complementary skills, I honestly think we’d do very well if we were in business together. However, my risk tolerance is low, so I wouldn’t function well if we had all of our eggs in one basket.

I have, however, coached many copreneurs and some distinct patterns have definitely emerged. I find that many of my clients haven’t worked out the details of their roles and responsibilities before they start their businesses. That’s where I find that my coaching services are most helpful (and I think they would agree.) I learn a lot just by listening to my clients argue for awhile.

In business, as in marriage, you and your partner will have disagreements. There is some work you can do on the front-end to minimize conflict.

Here is a short list of 5 things to consider when working with a partner:

  • Determine your risk tolerance. Figure out what you’re able and willing to spend to get your business off the ground and stick to it.
  • Figure out what each one of you does best. Define your roles in as much detail as possible to avoid overlap.
  • Accept the fact that, just like marriage, the copreneurial relationship isn’t always a 50-50 proposition.
  • Deliver constructive feedback in a way that your partner will be able to receive it.
  • Make sure that your goals and vision for the company are aligned.
  • I’ll expand on each bullet point in future posts. Of course, this is just a partial list. And yes, working through this list takes time and work. It’s worth it. A lot of the copreneurs that I coach didn’t do this work on the front end, and it caused conflict that affected their personal relationships as well as their business relationship. With coaching, the copreneurs worked through their issues and got on more solid ground to make their business flourish.

    What steps have you and your partner taken to build team work and minimize conflict?

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