Choosing a business partner for a new business is a huge responsibility and will
have a large impact on a company’s success. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to weigh
all of their options when deciding on who their business partner should be. Often
times, having a business partner can be a good strategy. An entrepreneur who does
not have the comprehensive knowledge and experience in starting a new business may
decide to hire a business partner who has more familiarity and aptitude in the field.
This alliance may be a good combination, especially if the new business partner
can improve the company’s chances of success.
Some investors, such as venture capitalists, may be very hesitant to lend money
to entrepreneurs who do not have any experience in the industry; therefore, having
at least one business partner with experience in the field can increase the company’s
chance of raising capital. It also gives the new business more credibility and creates
an impressive corporate profile for their portfolio.
Your spouse as your business partner
Many entrepreneurs who are starting a new business may consider having their spouse
as their business partner. This may be a very difficult decision to make and one
that needs to be given extremely careful thought since business partnerships are
a long-term investment in itself. One question that every business owner may ask
themselves is if they are ready to work day in and day out with their spouse. Working
all day long and coming home to the spouse and family is one thing; however, working
full-time with a spouse as a business partner only to return home to them is another.
Problems experienced at work can certainly manifest themselves in the home and what
was once initially a solid relationship between a husband and wife may eventually
be strained. Before deciding on whether to have a spouse as a business partner or
not, entrepreneurs need to keep in mind many different things such as the personalities
of the two individuals, the work dynamics, long-term goals, and the joint roles
of each business partner. If both individuals can find themselves compatible with
these components, then it is possible that having a business partner as a spouse
may actually be a good predilection. If, on the other hand, both business partners
differ greatly, then they should maybe not consider a joint venture. There are no
set criteria for choosing a spouse as a business partner; however, there are a few
essential factors to bear in mind. When reviewing all the vital elements below,
it is very important to take into account the spouse as both a business partner
and as a married partner.
Regardless of who they may be, whether it is a spouse, peer, or business associate,
an individual’s personality is always a good indicator of how well two people can
harmoniously work together. If a spouse is lazy and tends to procrastinate, then
they will most likely do the same in the workforce, limiting the amount of responsibilities
at hand. If the spouse is opinionated and temperamental, then these characteristics
may also transfer, creating problems for the
new business as well at home. A new
business owner needs to seriously consider their spouse’s behavior and characteristics
before deciding whether or not their spouse will be a good business partner.
More questions to reflect upon include the following: If personality differences
exist, can you, the business owner, and your spouse work harmoniously full-time
as business partners? How will you handle business-related conflicts and discrepancies?
Are you or your spouse willing to change or modify your behavior for the benefit
of the business? How can you ensure that problems with your business partner will
not be continued at home? Are you, the business owner, willing to respect and accept
the personality differences of your business partner and how can you both amicably
Another important component to consider when determining if a spouse will make a
good business partner is by observing their overall work ethic. Even though work
habits differ greatly between individuals, here are some questions to consider:
Do you, the business owner, believe your spouse to be a hard-working individual?
Is your spouse one to complete projects in a timely manner or are their assignments
often incomplete? Will your business partner be willing to sacrifice working long
hours for extended periods of time to ensure your company’s success or does your
business partner expect more leniencies with their work schedule since you are their
spouse? How does your spouse handle stress? Do they perform well under pressure
or do they avoid tasks that require time and energy to complete? Are you, the business
owner, willing to share power and control with your business partner and will they
be receptive of such a role?
If your spouse procrastinates, how will you go about ensuring that their tasks be
completed as scheduled? How can you and your business partner distinguish between
the important versus insignificant tasks at work? How can you both set priorities
so that no resentment occurs between both parties? Are you willing to accept that
one business partner may do more work than the other yet share equal salary?
A major problem of having a spouse as a business partner is a conflict of job roles.
Often times, married couples take on the traditional responsibilities at work as
they do at home. For example, the husband, who is often the head of the household
and major income earner, often leads his business, manages the staff, and takes
control of every company decision. His wife, on the other hand, may assume a more
subordinate role as a business partner as she does at home. This collaboration can
complement each business partner greatly if both parties have no problem with assuming
such roles. However, it is easier said than done. Perhaps the wife may want more
of an active role as a business partner than as a passive one, which can create
conflict if the husband is not willing to share his power. On the other hand, the
husband may want his wife to take a more aggressive role in running the company
rather than being subordinate.
Regardless of the situation, both husband and wife should agree with their roles
as business partners rather than expect or assume responsibilities. To avoid such
tensions and quarrels among spouses, the resolution would be for both business partners
to have separate company roles. A new business can certainly benefit from a structure
where each business partner has their own leadership role within the enterprise.
Both husband and wife should be assigned a different department within the company
where they can effectively lead and operate that division to the best of their ability.
Through this manner, they have their own responsibilities and can avoid conflicts
because of their independent duties.
Entrepreneurs should always make an effort to communicate with their staff, management
team, investors, etc., so there are no misunderstandings and discrepancies in the
workforce. The same rules apply to their business partners. If they are considering
their spouse as a potential business partner, they should effectively exchange thoughts
and ideas on a daily basis at both home and work.
Entrepreneurs should first take
the time out to communicate with their spouse about being business partners, find
out if they share the same interests in the business, and if they are willing to
take on the various responsibilities of joint partnership.
Another issue that requires ample communication is if the family is willing to sacrifice
everything or "put all its eggs in one basket." Establishing a
new business is considered
risky and requires an extraordinary amount of personal and financial commitment.
Most families prefer to have one partner working a regular job while the other works
on stabilizing the new business.
There can also be a possibility that the spouse may not be as interested in becoming
a business partner because it simply does not interest them. Rather than assume
that a spouse will agree to be a business partner, the
entrepreneur should communicate
with them effectively to find out if such collaboration can be made. A spouse that
is interested in becoming a business partner and shares the same business concerns
as the entrepreneur will be a more effective worker than one who gets bored easily
because they are not interested.
If a spouse agrees to become a business partner, then the
entrepreneur should make
well-defined business goals that both parties agree to. Priorities should be set
and expectations should be made that are acknowledged by both the entrepreneur and
their spouse. Many times, a business partner may have prospects and assume that
the other partner shares the same outlook, when, in reality, both parties have no
idea of what was expected of each other. To avoid such inconsistencies, communication
should be made a fundamental means by which there is a proper understanding between
both business partners.
Quite too often, business partners, who are spouses, have a difficult time separating
their professional and personal life. Problems at home can easily carry on to the
workforce and vice versa. Relationship strains can occur and divorce can be a high
possibility unless a balance between home life and work life can be made. Before
entrepreneur considers their spouse as a business partner, they should be aware
of the possibility that tensions can rise in the workforce and be brought home.
This should be discussed with their spouse, and a plan should be devised for both
business partners to follow in order to ensure that both personal and professional
life will not be carried over in both environments.
While deciding on whether a spouse may be a good business partner or not, the entrepreneur
should take into consideration the organization of their company. Some legal structures
have more advantages for spouse business partners than others. For example, couples
that seek equal ownership may take into account designating their business as a
partnership, LLC, or corporation. Within these legal entities, one owner can run
the business while the other can intermittently resume their role when needed. Despite
the difference in roles, both partners are formal owners of the business.
Having a spouse as a business partner can be a good collaboration. If both parties
share the same business-related interests and have the same goals for their company,
then it can certainly be a solid, respectful partnership. However, if one business
partner is not as interested in the joint venture or if one may be more overpowering
than the other, problems can easily arise. In addition, effective communication
can prevent any discrepancies and resentment that can occur at home and work. If
an entrepreneur is considering their spouse to become their business partner, rules
must apply. Priorities should be coordinated between parties and long-term business
goals should be made. In addition, both the
entrepreneur and spouse business partner
should be assigned distinct roles at work so they can be a leader in their own division.