You never get rich working for someone “probably”. So what’s the alternative? In these tough economic times all the options are on the table. Some people, maybe even you, might be considering going into business for yourself.
A long time ago, I went into business with the woman I loved – my girlfriend, I found out the hard way that wasn’t easy at all. I was very niave about it all to be honest. We did some things right, we did some things wrong.
Right & Wrong
We did our homework. We hooked up with a very experienced company that become our partners. They gave us all the knowledge to build on, along with trouble shooting advice (used that one a lot). Without them it would have been near impossible to start.
A shoestring – we started with way too little, a very skinny shoestring indeed. Get financed properly!
Not the right person – I invested in the wrong person (emotionally & financially). I knew it was the wrong person, but ignored that little voice.. you know what I’m talking about.
No backup – Starting a business in a relationship you’re not convinced about, is a recipe for trouble. It was also her home country and language. She walked away quite comfortable, I was left with my pride.
You don’t have to be like me
The wrong person is the wrong person, that’s independent of gender or relationship. I still believe the woman you love (or man) can make the best business partner. You just have to be smart about it, and there are several strong advantages for doing business him or her and I’m not alone in thinking this. According to the Small Business Administration – out of the 21 million small business in the USA, 90 percent are actually family owned. That’s an astounding display of confidence in family and yes, spouses.
Trust – who’d be better than your wife or husband? You have lived with them, you know them. More importantly your in it together, financially and emotionally.
Due diligence – I didn’t do this, but if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, then you probably have. You know their financial status, character and ability. You won’t be cheated by a fake license on the wall.
Extra mile – they will go that extra mile to keep things afloat in hard times. It’s a cliché but a fairly well known fact, most small business fail within the first year. If it’s a cash problem, one of you can take an extra job for a while, you can tighten your belt, miss a paycheck, live hand-to-mouth, or even take on extra responsibility if your skills allow.
Together too much – I won’t lie to you, this part was tough. But a well adjusted, mature minded, loving couple will find a way around this. Go home, don’t talk about work. Separate home from work, spend time doing fun things. See friends. I hated talking about business, it caused major problems and fights.
Be professional – We all have different skills sets, identifying these and can crucial in making any business better. You and your partner are no different. Assign roles to each other, according to skills and ability. If neither of you can do a job, hirer someone, perhaps a freelancer.
Trust in your partner’s ability – If you give someone a job to do, it means you trust in their ability. Don’t micro manage somebody else’s job, let them get on with it have regular meetings to check on key issues that are affecting your business and performance.
You still have to pay your spouse – I fell into this one too, I was too nice. Without a corporate structure and a HR department it’s difficult to put a value on your partner’s work, it’s very easy to lose perspective. Keep things afloat is the first priority, but you must pay or share with your spouse too.
They’re only human after all.
Outside advice and help – When we had a shortage of skills, knowledge or experience we either consulted with someone or hired someone. That part worked well. If personally you’re have problems find someone who will constructively listen to you both. Bottom line – if your relationship is at risk, look for help.
Goals and missions – with any business you need to determine your companies mission from the go-get. As you company grows you need to keep your eye on the ball, and make sure your achieving what you set out to do.
Remember to forgive, remember why you wanted to start the business together with the woman you love in the first place.
About The Woman