Some couples work together smoothly, offering each other the best of their complimentary talents. Others create a living hell, for themselves and their shell-shocked employees. My husband Hot Rod and I don’t work together anymore. That might be why we are still married!
It helps to establish a few rules for working together without killing each other. You can also set the stage for a smooth departure, should you decide you want to move on…or fire your spouse .
Rules for husband-wife business teams…
· There can be only one boss. This is a toughie. At some point, you will come to an impasse and one person must make the call. Decide now who it will be. Create a formal organizational chart…with one person at the top.
· Pay yourselves…both of you. Pay everyone who works at the company…including yourself and your spouse. Pay at least what that position is worth in the ‘market.’ When you are paid well, you can drop the, ‘I’m doing you a favor by working here!’ resentments. Your employees really hate the martyr act, too.
· Write down who does what, when and how. Create written job descriptions, policies and procedures. You’ll get along better if you aren’t stepping on each other’s toes. Play to your strengths. Do what you do best. And write down how you do it.
· Get profitable. When you are broke, your options are limited. Educate yourself on business basics, specifically accounting and finance. Raise your prices, and collect on the job. Profits and cash allow you to pay down debt. That’s a stress reliever.
· Hug it out! Promise not to yell at each other. Tell your spouse, “Great job,” now and then. Be kind and use good manners. And you can shut it off, at least once in a while, and talk about something other than work.
While some couples figure out how to make love and money together, don’t be surprised if you aren’t one of them. If you are unhappy working with each other, deal with it before the situation gets any worse. “”Susan” and “Nick” were married for 17 years. They started their company in their first year of marriage. They argued endlessly about money and employees. Finally, they sold their family business the same day they got divorced! The business sale closed at 11:00 am; the divorce papers were signed at 3:00 pm.
If you are ready to fire yourself, or your spouse, these suggestions will help you transition out of the company. By paying everyone, you are budgeting in a salary for each employee. The money for your replacement is already there. The organizational chart job descriptions make it easier for a new person to come on board. And solid profits make everything a lot less stressful.
Leaving will probably stir up all kinds of emotions. You’ll get over it.