When two lovers think about their future, they often imagine the home they will live in, the family they will build and their future dreams and aspirations. But for some couples, this vision includes entrepreneurship. Being married can be challenging enough. So how can two people handle the ups and downs of marital life and build a business together at the same time? That was the question put to business and relationship experts in a recent article. Stewart Friedman, a professor of management at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Kathy Marshack, a business psychologist who works directly with husband/wife professional teams, give some advice on how to make a success out of both ventures.
Friedman believes that husband/wife teams have a big advantage over non-married business partners. The fact that they trust each other and can often predict each other’s moves can be very beneficial to a business. It is also rewarding to share in the joys of success with your spouse. But it is essential for couples to talk through their plans before they begin their business. When both spouses are working for the same company, the financial and emotional burden can be overwhelming. Separating work from home life can be difficult, too, especially if couples tag-team and work opposite shifts. Friedman suggests setting clear boundaries for professional and personal responsibilities.
Marshack agrees with Friedman and believes that setting clear boundaries is not only essential, but has been the trend for married business partners over the decades. In her research, the majority of successful partnerships have laid out specific roles at home and at work for each spouse. This not only eliminates potential power struggles; it also allows each spouse the opportunity to excel in the area that complements their strengths. Friedman and Marshack recommend that couples not only assign roles, but also designate couple time, apart from professional time, in order to be able to maintain intimacy and closeness. Also, Friedman suggests couples rely on outside sources for input and assistance rather than limiting themselves to their own judgments and opinions. Whether it is for professional or personal differences, getting outside input can be invaluable. “Couples might benefit from coaching to sort through this, and a counselor or an advisor usually helps you figure out both your business and your family goals and roles,” said Friedman
From the altar to IPO: The highs and lows of married business partners. (n.d.): n. pag.Knowledge@Wharton. Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 31 Jan. 2013. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3177
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