Spouses that choose to work together embark on a very unique journey. This arrangement is not a conventional marriage. Two of the hardest things a person can attempt is to build a successful business and a successful marriage. 90 percent of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. The divorce rate (in the U.S.) is now higher than 50 percent. Combine these two endeavors, and you face a lot of risk. There is a lot at stake at home and at work if things get rocky. The levels of expectations for one another are much higher than in a typical business partnership or typical marriage. Consideration must extend much further than, “I have this great business idea, can you help me?”
As a follow up to my January 10, 2013 segment on Washington Business Report (http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/02/washington-business-report-feb-10-2013-85006.html) on working with your spouse, I’ve interviewed several other business owners who have braved this model to learn what makes it work, and how to avoid trouble in paradise. Rather than giving a simple bulleted list of strategies such as “schedule a date night” or “agree not to talk about marriage at home,” I’m sharing a more detailed behind-the-scenes glimpse of the complexities of this arrangement. If you are currently working with your spouse, or thinking about it, this is an important column for you.
What family legacy are you creating? What words would a stranger use to describe your family if they met you for the first time? More importantly, what words would your kids use to describe your family?
Many business leaders build vision statements and a core value system for their organizations. They have clearly defined rules of engagement, and roles & responsibilities for key players. They reward achievement and performance, and penalize for performance infractions.