Making Or Breaking Business Couples

What makes or breaks couples working and living together – is it as simple as ABC? Small Business Coach and Business Psychologist, Georgina Walsh, who is on a quest to give people more clarity and enjoyment in their working world gave iHubbub her ABC on Couples in Business.

As a small business coach I work with quite a few couples who are running businesses together. Either they have decided to set up something together or one partner has joined the other as the business has grown.

So what secrets of success have I learnt from this, and what pitfalls have I helped clients to avoid or at least climb out of once encountered?

Small Business Coach and Business Psychologist, Georgina Walsh, who is on a quest to give people more clarity and enjoyment in their working world gave iHubbub her ABC on Couples in Business.

Is the answer for success really as simple as ABC?

A is for Awareness

Awareness of where you are going, awareness of what you do and how it impacts others and awareness of how your partner is working alongside you and how they are feeling. Quite a lot of things to be aware of…and you still need to do the supermarket shop.

One couple who came to me were struggling to articulate exactly what they wanted their company to be. They said they were going round and round with lots of questions.  Do you know where you are going, I asked, have you got a vision?

The reply from one was that she had a very clear vision but had not communicated it to her partner. Likewise so did he.  So yes they had a vision, just not a mutual one.

Think about your values and principles – most likely as partners you will have similar ones, but become aware of what ones you really want to bring to the fore in your business and how you deal with customers.

Also, ensure you are fully aware of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and passions. Yes, you know she over-stuffs cupboards and he doesn’t pick up his socks, but are you fully aware of each other’s strengths and the areas of running a home based business where you really come alive?

It's quite interesting how often this is not happening – one partner ends up doing a role they are not suited to because it is felt they ‘should’ do it.  Less should and more “Yes please, I would love to do that bit!”

What about the enigma of personality? Is that the answer to romantic and working success? As a business psychologist I offer psychometric testing to my clients and often do a session with partners working together where we go through both their tests at the same time.

We highlight their strengths, weaknesses and where they can work better together. This is always found to be a highly valuable exercise and I don’t think as yet has sparked any disastrous marital rows.  

The interesting thing, is that couples with very similar personalities can work together, but also couples which have very different personalities also work well together. The greater the awareness of where you are similar and where you are different the easier it is to work together.

B Is For Boundaries

As I alluded to earlier – awareness of what you love to do will mean that you carve out a role in your business that you are naturally good at.  To make that work you need boundaries.

When you have the boundaries agreed, you also need to work at these. One couple I worked with had an imbalance where one partner tends to ‘rescue’ or ‘spoon feed’ the other. So this person ends up actually doing more of their partners work than they should.

This leads to one partner taking on the ultimate responsibility and the other sitting back and not trying so much. 

Keep revisiting your boundaries and make sure the work is equal – it maybe ends up that one does more in the home than the other – but whatever works for you – agree it and work at making an even balance.

 

Small Business Coach and Business Psychologist, Georgina Walsh, who is on a quest to give people more clarity and enjoyment in their working worldGeorgina Walsh

Small Business Coach and Business Psychologist, Georgina Walsh is on a quest to give people more clarity and enjoyment in their working world. 

 

 

Another key boundary is to have a specific time that computers are switched off by and work is no longer talked about.  You have another life too!

One UK couple I worked with were setting up a business in France. They were struggling to make it work and doubting their move to a new country. Was the dream going to die before it had really got going? 

They agreed to set boundaries of who did what and have different roles and that seemed to work well, for a while. At a later session it turned out that one partner had gone full pelt into her role and made a lot of decisions and bought a lot of equipment without at least consulting her partner.

Which leads us to ...

C Is For Communication

All I really need to say here is communication, communication, communication – from that awareness and boundaries will come.  

Very often a result of an initial coaching session with a couple running a business will result in one of the actions being 'Have a Weekly Meeting'. Just because you spend nearly every waking moment together does not mean that your communication is always as productive and business like as you think.

Meetings work to run businesses – make sure you use the basic tools of business = communication.

So what else goes with ABC to make the recipe for business success with a romantic partner?  It is that old friend intuition. I believe that we don’t listen to our intuition enough.

For me, I knew my husband was the one, but I also know we could not work together (he politely says we might be able to last a week.)

For you, would it or does it feel right to be working together?  It felt right for you to say yes to being with that person, does it feel right to be working with them too.

If the answer is yes and you use your ABC’s, your vision could be a wonderful reality very soon.  You may want to read some books on relationships.

Our Readers Also Liked