Sunday, July 26, 2020
3 keys to starting and running a business with your spouse
3 keys to starting and running a business with your spouse When starting and operating a business, the lines of work and life begin to blur for small- business owners. They often find themselves answering work emails while at the dinner table or taking conference calls in the car. When starting a business with your spouse, the lines between professional and personal lives become even more intertwined. While there are benefits to starting a business with your partner, it can be challenging to maintain both a productive working relationship and a supportive personal relationship. Ian and Jamie Landsman, the founders of HelpSpot help desk software, started their company 12 years ago and have successfully self-funded the business while remaining happily married. It hasnât been an easy road, but the couple says it isnât impossible. Here, they share their tips for married spouses thinking about entering the world of entrepreneurship together. Designate specific roles Much like you would for any other employee, detail specific job descriptions for each spouse when you establish the business. For example, Ian uses his programming skills to work on the technical side of the business, while Jamie oversees HelpSpotâs operations, strategic planning, and development. âWe outline the roles and responsibilities for each employee at HelpSpot, and our jobs are no different,â said Jamie Landsman. âBy understanding what weâre specifically responsible for, thereâs no guessing on who is working on what. This keeps us organized and avoids to-do items falling through the cracks.â Show respect to one another Once there are certain tasks and responsibilities for each partner, allow one another to own those roles like you would at home. You wouldnât undermine your spouse on how they load the dishwasher if itâs their turn to do the dishes, so be sure to show the same respect at the office. âWhile I might have a different approach to solving a problem than Jamie, I know that sheâs thought through the most appropriate plan of action,â said Ian Landsman. âItâs not healthy to challenge every move she makes â" either at home or at the office. Plus, itâs inefficient when running a business.â Keep personal topics at home Itâs impossible to keep all personal and professional conversations separate, but if youâre working with other employees, itâs best to stay on the topic of work. Minor one-offs are acceptable, like confirming whoâs picking up the kids from daycare, or if youâre going to be late to dinner. Deeper marital conversations should take place at home, away from the eyes and ears of other staff members. To co-owners of a business, what may seem like a simple discussion or minor argument unrelated to work might, in fact, spark doubts of job-security among employees. Bring on other employees When the time is right and your SMB is growing, bring on staff members that can handle the workload and fill in any knowledge gaps between you and your spouse. It helps to relieve some of the stress when there are other people to help balance the work, which will ultimately alleviate any added pressure on your relationship. âHiring more employees allowed us to further create separation of responsibilities between us so we werenât in direct conflict on things,â said Ian. âJamie stays on her side of the business, and I stay on mine.â Jamie added, âWe hired our first employee three years into owning HelpSpot. She worked remotely and was hired as a support person. It was a great help.â Be in it together At the end of the day, the ultimate benefit of starting a business with your spouse is that youâve got an incredible partner to share ideas and successes. It only works, though, when you both believe in the company and each other. âThere are definitely going to be rough patches when youâre married and own a business together,â said Ian. âWhat has helped us get through those times is knowing that we have each otherâs back at the end of the day.â Starting a business with your spouse can be a great benefit because youâve already proven that you work well together, can make it through good times and bad, and support one another. However, itâs a big undertaking to operate a family and a business, which can add pressure to your relationship. Your best business partner may already be standing next to you, as long as you lay some ground rules. Join Dana Manciagliâs Job Search Master Class right now and immediately access the most comprehensive job search system currently available!