Pros and Cons of Starting a Business with Your Spouse
Pro: Make More Money for Your Family Unit
By opening a business with a spouse instead of someone outside of your family, the profit that would normally be shared between partners would instead go entirely to your family unit. If you and your spouse are invested in the success of the business to improve your family’s financial future, the common goal will serve as an incredible motivation to make the business flourish.
Con: Increased Pressure to Be Successful
While sharing the profit of a lucrative business can be great for your family, if the business runs into hard times, it can negatively affect your family’s finances. If the business has a bad year, or can’t become profitable at all, your entire family will suffer financially. Without one partner having an income outside of the business, there won’t be a cushion to rely on while trying to increase sales.
According the Small Business Administration (SBA), only half of small businesses survive the first five years in operation. Due to this, at the beginning especially, your family’s financial stability could be put in jeopardy.
Pro: Open and Honest Communication
Communication is a key part of a healthy marriage, as well as an integral part of a positive business partnership. Starting a business with your spouse will require you to enter into a new type of partnership with the person you (should) trust most. Hopefully, you’ve developed your communication habits over time, and can use the same communication style that is effective in your personal life to develop a plan that will benefit your professional relationship.
Con: Could Add Stress to Your Relationship
If you and your partner work and live together, the likelihood that business-related stress will affect your home life is likely. For instance, you’ll probably find yourself talking about business-related issues at the dinner table, or addressing family matters during the work-day. Although it can be beneficial to have your spouse completely understand your work-related stress, it can also create tension when you spend too much time together, or are under significant pressure due to your business.
Pro: Having Trust in Your Business Partner
Stress can often bring out negative qualities in people. If you don’t know your business partner well, you could set yourself up for potential problems and conflict. Your spouse is arguably the person you know best, and someone you can count on to be reliable and honest. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, over a million married couples own businesses together, showing that many couples have found this to be true. If you and your spouse start a business together, it’s likely that you have the same goals and will be able to build company together
Con: The Potential for Failure in Business and Marriage
With any new business, there’s a chance of failure, especially in the first few years. There are many factors that could cause a business to struggle during the startup phase. Co-owning the business with a spouse adds a new level of potential issues. No one wants to think about the possibility of a divorce, but it’s an important consideration for couples starting a business together. If the marriage ends, does it mean the business will be dissolved too?
Making it Work
There are unique benefits and challenges for married couples that own a business together. If you’re considering starting a business with your spouse, have honest and difficult conversations about the pros and cons of the situation early. With healthy communication and the right balance of work and family life, you can have a successful company and marriage.
Do you co-own a business with your spouse? If so, tell us about your experience in the comment section below.
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