Working Alongside Your Significant Other

Working Alongside Your Significant Other

Choosing to run a company with your significant other may seem like the ideal situation. You are familiar with each other and know how to make things work as you have already built a successful relationship. However, couples must understand that a business relationship is much different from that of a spouse. When considering the addition of business to your dynamic, all of the factors involved must be carefully considered. This can be a difficult and stressful venture if the parties are not on the same page. Mark Hanrahan is the managing partner at Markmel Co., LLC, in Urbandale, Iowa, a company that he operates alongside his wife. He has over 25 years of experience in the finance and real estate investment sectors.

To help ensure the success of both your business partnership and personal relationship with your spouse, be sure to follow the tips below.

Determine Your Business’ Values Before Starting Your Venture together

First and foremost, spend a generous amount of time with your spouse to decide what your business’ values will be. It is more than likely that you have gotten to know your partner’s personal values throughout your relationship, but those may vary when it’s from a professional standpoint. Predetermining the values of your business will save time and energy when it comes to examining any of the ethical issues that may arise. Determining these values as a team as opposed to separately will also ensure that you are both on the same page. Mark Hanrahan says that this is an important commencement to a strong business partnership between spouses.

Commit to Boundaries Between Business and Personal life

Agree upon and set some rules to keep your business separate from your personal relationship. Carve out dedicated times during the week to set aside all business affairs and sit and chat with each other – no cell phones or business talk allowed. Set a strict cut-off time for each evening, past which business calls and emails are not permitted. Go on regular date nights and keep family-oriented activities a priority. Your business partner will appreciate the dedication that you show to these boundaries, as it demonstrates your commitment to them as well as to yourself and your partnership.

Attend Business Development Workshops

A business can grow faster with more stability if its owners are putting in the effort to learn and develop themselves. Attending workshops that teach important skills such as business marketing, leadership principles, building a community, financial literacy, etc. can help improve the practical skills that you will need. Mark Hanrahan suggests that both you and your spouse attend these classes so that you focus on what you can learn for yourself, rather than focusing on what your partner could do better.  Take notes for yourself that can be applied back into your responsibilities in the business.

Mark Harahan on Separating Responsibilities

Every person has a unique set of skills, so it is in the company’s best interests to find out what yours are. Rather than constantly trying to figure out who should complete what task, spend some time deciding who is best at which type of tasks. The remaining tasks can then be split up evenly between you. With your duties determined early on, each partner knows and is responsible for their part. Work efficiency and productivity will also increase due to each of you utilizing your personal skills.

By adopting these strategies from businessman Mark Hanrahan, you and your partner will be well on your way to a successful business venture while protecting your personal relationship.

Mark Hanrahan

Mark Hanrahan is the founder and CEO of Markmel Co. a company that specializes in real estate development and venture capital investments. Currently located in Urbandale, Iowa, he works with seed level start-up companies.
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