Can Marital Bliss Translate into Small Business Success?

December 22, 2011

Just as the golden rule in show business is “never work with children or animals” so has it been “never work with your spouse” for small business owners. But why not? It’s common for brothers or sisters to work together for their parents in the family business, but what about working with, or for, your wife? Are you crazy?! You might as well divide your DVD collection and bicker over who keeps the dog now. But, an increasing number of married couples are working together. As more and more women become entrepreneurs, it’s becoming more common for husbands to be hired by their wives.

In some ways it’s a no-brainer: the firm’s original small business plan was probably worked out at the kitchen table and the husband often helped out in his spare time, so when the business gets off the ground it can be the natural step for him to leave his job so he can work at the start-up full time. For the sake of marital harmony, however, couples should have clearly defined roles at work, so it’s crystal clear who has the final say in different areas of the business, according to husband-and-wife teams interviewed by the New York Times. It’s also important that husbands not feel threatened by the boss also being their better half. In fact, the women interviewed for the piece tended to be more sensitive about the issue than their partners. The golden rule though is to not bring your domestic arguments to work. There’s nothing worse than a major argument breaking out across the boardroom table over who forgot to load the dishwasher or take out the trash the night before. How many of your have worked with your partner? Any advice for other considering this?