In the past decade, more couples are going into business together than ever before. Running something like a Pita Pit franchise could be a great way to push each other to be the best possible version of yourselves in your professional career. If Pita Pit is of interest to you then you may wish to visit their site to learn more about franchise opportunities. Glenn Muske, an Oklahoma State University professor who has spent six years studying the topic, estimates that 3 million of the 22 million U.S. small businesses in 2000 were couple-owned.
Mariam Hawley and Jeffrey McIntyre, a married couple of thirty years recently published “You and Your Partner, Inc.”, a book about the growing trend of entrepreneurial couples.
What they found after conducting over 50 interviews with couples of all ages in all types of industries is that for the most part, the co-partnership actually strengthens their romances and businesses.
Business Insider’s interview with Hawley and McIntyre shed some light on the reasons for this emerging trend. Part of it is that corporate cultures sometimes stifles couples’ options for the type of lifestyle they want to lead. Long hours and structured workplaces leave little time for them to spend together and less opportunity to express and use multiple parts of their personalities, skills and talents.
Hawley explains, “In corporate America, while there are some pockets that really nourish the whole person and give space to the whole person, and some companies in particular that have put a fair amount of energy into doing that, it’s not the model across the board. If you want to take charge of your life, your whole life, then going into business for yourself as a couple gives you some opportunities to make sure your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is handled well, and to make sure you spend the kind of time you want with your kids.”
Some people also want different lives than the ones their parents led. They’re deciding to experiment with different lifestyles. Hawley says, “People also saw their parents just married to their work and don’t want that. So we’re looking for new ways to live life and live a whole life. And I think as a couple starting a business for yourselves, it’s one really appealing option. It’s not the only one, and for some couples that would be the worst choice.“
These changes are coming with changes in corporate culture and expectations of relationships. Hawley says people in their 20s and 30s look at their parents who worked for one company for thirty years and then got a gold watch. But, she points out, this type of work-life is long gone.
When couples go into business together they have the advantage of knowing each other’s skillsets, proclivities, and interests, says Hawley. They can therefore put more parts of each other’s talents and skills to use. Hawley says these strengths really need to be honored by both people and at the same time, they need to be willing to hire others if neither partner has a particular skill needed for the business. Hawley uses the example of some friends who recently started their own roofing company. “My friends’ husband was a roofer and wanted to go out on his own. He was working long hours and my friend barely got to see him. They decided to run the business together – my friend did everything behind the scenes whilst her husband did the physical work. They needed a little help with roofing sales as neither of them had any skills in the sales department, but after that, it really took off and they were much happier”. Business owners won’t always have the necessary skills to make their business successful, so it’s important to outsource help whenever it’s needed. Most business owners won’t have experience in legal matters or accounting either. This is where a company like Eide Bailly (see here) could be useful for a startup company. Not only does a company like that provide legal assistance, they could also help the business with different bookkeeping services too. When starting a business, make sure to outsource things if you’re not confident.
But the one thing you need to be sure of if you decide to go into business with your significant other Hawley says, is that you enjoy spending a lot of time together. This seems obvious but a lot of couples value their separate careers and time spent apart. If that sounds like you, it’s best to avoid an entrepreneurial partnership. When running a business together, you will be spending all of your time together, both at work and at home. This can work for some couples, but it can ruin the relationship for other couples. If the marriage does begin to break down over work matters, it may begin to impact the business. If that happens, it would be good for one person to step away from the company before there is a need for some business attorneys to get involved to determine who owns what business assets. If you do need a business attorney, it might be worth visiting www.cololawyers.com, for example, to see if they can help you with this aspect of business law. Hopefully though, your business won’t cause this sort of strain on your relationship. However, it has happened before, so keep that in mind.
Hawley explains, “If you absolutely don’t enjoy spending a lot of time together or enjoy having a lot of conversation, then you probably ought not to be in business together. But couples that chose to be in business together or want to join in the other’s business that the first had begun, are people who enjoy spending time together, communicate well, and know how to take care of themselves and support each other.”