MIXING HOME & WORK: WHAT ROLE SHOULD YOUR SPOUSE PLAY IN YOUR BUSINESS?
As an entrepreneur, involving your spouse in the business has various pros and cons. Spending more time together and sharing successes may strengthen your relationship, but it also may be challenging to separate home and work roles, which can unintentionally welcome potential conflicts and added pressures to the marriage.
The entrepreneur’s relationship with the business and his or her spouse is complicated to say the least. In many cases, the entrepreneur has a connection to the business that is often difficult for the non-entrepreneurial spouse to fully understand.
Maybe you started the business while you were still single, bringing your single-entrepreneur habits into the marriage. Or maybe you established the business with your partner and the additional stresses of the business has started to eat away from family time and having fun as a couple.
To ensure the success of both your marriage and your business, you must deliberately craft a marriage integration plan. Here are three steps on how to do it:
Every relationship requires communication to endure. Especially as an entrepreneur. The unique stressors, personalities, and life circumstances involved in the entrepreneur-spouse relationship make routine, effective communication essential.
Start with understanding the degree of involvement your partner wants within business. If your partner is not involved in the daily operations, identify which aspects of the business are meaningful for them to be updated on.
Some want insights on the strategic marketing plan or business development efforts, while others are more interested in the financial details of the business. Some prefer to know nothing besides whether cash flow is healthy enough to maintain lifestyle choices and still others have no interest in business talk at all.
To avoid provoking unhealthy conflict, it is important that you know where your spouse stands.
Establish the kind of lifestyle you and your spouse want to live and identify what you value most as a couple.
Discuss your relationship and how to nurture it:
- When can you spend quality time together?
- How will you spend that time?
- What needs to happen for both of you to be in the mindset of forgetting about external stressors and focusing on each other?
Conflicting views must also be expressed. For example, if you want to invest capital in the business but your spouse wants a bigger house, make a plan for how you can do both. If you don’t talk about competing goals, you can’t make compromises, and neither you nor your spouse will get the things and experiences that matter most to you.
Determine together how you will connect in a way that is meaningful to your marriage, and schedule a time to do it.
DEFINE THE ROLES
You must deliberately determine what kind of role you want your spouse to have in the business, if any role at all.
Consider your vision for the business:
- What does the future look like and how will you get there?
- Is there a role for your spouse in your plans?
- Does he or she have a talent for networking or numbers that you’d like to utilize and they’d be willing to utilize for the good of the business?
- Would you prefer your spouse have no role in the business at all?
Once you decide what role (or non-role) you’d like your spouse to play, you have to communicate that desire to your spouse as well as develop a process for continued communication as the business and your relationship with your spouse grows.
Successful spouse-business relationships don’t stay stagnant. There are times when a spouse may be knee-deep in the business, times when his or her role will change, and times when they may have nothing to do with it. You and your spouse must constantly be checking in and weighing what the business needs versus what the spouse needs versus what the family needs. You have to really have good communication and be honest about what is best for your business and for your marriage.
The universal truth about being a married FGE is that even if your spouse does not hold a position in your business, he or she is a vital part of your success and can impact it in a profound way.
Does your spouse have a role in your business? Share your experience with us on social!