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Running a Business with your Spouse?

Here are 3 Tips. Building a business with your significant other can be one of the greatest joys in a relationship, but it also has the potential to damage your bond if you don’t have a good strategy for approaching the new business venture together.

Janet Carmichael, owner of Big Frog Custom T-Shirts of Nashville, is an advocate for mixing work and home life when running business with your spouse. While many argue the two should remain completely separate, she encourages a holistic approach. Intertwining the two is inevitable and if done properly can lead to a successful business and prosperous marriage. This includes everything from clearly defining roles and responsibilities, having open communication whether that is at the business or at home, and maintaining respect for one another.

For those daring enough to operate a business with their spouse, Carmichael suggests the following three tips:

1. Clear delegation of responsibility

It is important to create ownership of duties by assigning specific roles within your business. Start by identifying your strengths in the areas of leadership, business, and administration – your spouse should do the same. Compare your lists and assign roles and responsibilities according to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This way, each person “owns” specific duties so there won’t be any confusion or duplication of efforts. Sure, you can consult with each other, but when it comes down to execution, you know who the decision maker is for each business related issue.

2. Maintain open communication both at work and at home

Owning a business with your spouse should be more trusting than any relationship you could ever have. If you trust your spouse enough to run a business together, you have to trust in open and honest communication. There is something freeing about open communication both at work and at home because there is no judgment, honest feedback, and continuous support.

3. Respect

Don’t treat your spouse as an employee. At the end of the day you don’t want to taint your home relationship due to lack of respect in the workplace. Even if one of you is subordinate to the other, maintain that respect both at work and at home. You need to believe that in both arenas your spouse is the best at what he or she does. Even if your spouse’s opinion is different from yours, be respectful and be aware of your tone. You never know, he or she might be right!

Running a business with your spouse is a no doubt a challenging feat, but a good strategy for managing your dual roles in each other’s lives can lead to a thriving business and healthy relationship.

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