Couples Running a Business Together: Tips for Success
So many couples are interested in running a business together today. We are often asked, "how can we get started running a business together". If you and your partner want to start a business together we have put together some great tips for success to help you navigate! Yes, it can be wonderful to own a business with your spouse or life partner. You are sharing a passion, working toward a common goal, and working together – or will you?
Having been marriage & relationship coaches for years, we have a distinct advantage in helping couples who are thinking about running a business together. In addition to being married for over 27 years, we have also worked as professional Relationship Coaches for many years.
Taking this road has its benefits and dangers, and we have firsthand experience. Our experiences can help you plan for a future that is compatible with the complications of running a business together as a couple. Using our guidance, you both can establish a high-performance partnership that allow help you avoid problems and achieve goals.
First Things First
The first steps to starting a business together as a couple is you must be courageous! Your success is at stake here, so if you are committed to starting a business together you have come to the right place.
All the flaws in your relationship will become apparent as you sort through all the decisions and responsibilities of running your business. A reality check: disagreements, breakdowns in communication, and power struggles are unavoidable, and they will happen multiple times. Trust us, you cannot overcome these challenges unless you have the right knowledge, skills, and a solid strategy.
You see we know from experience that conflict at home can spill over into the workplace, and vice versa. After a long day at work, you will both want to come home to a peaceful, harmonious home. Regardless of the challenges you are facing, you will both need a high level of bounce-back skills in order to end the problems.
What You Need to Consider
Thinking of becoming small business owners may not sound complicated when you are in the initial planning phase. However, it’s only when you begin implementing your dream ideas in real life that you realize how much work goes behind everything. From creating a budget plan to coming up with a solid marketing strategy, each stage demands both of your time, effort, money, and focus. Not to mention – one small mistake from either of you, and you may find yourselves out of business before even getting started.
In short, it’s crucial not to allow your enthusiasm to get in the way of planning everything out diligently, no matter how excited you are to get everything up and running. After all, making rookie mistakes leads at least 20% of the new small business owners in the U.S. to put their company into legal and financial jeopardy by the end of the first year.
Therefore, if you are a couple looking to avoid some common mistakes couples make running a business together; use this article as a guide to ensure a successful journey!
We are Coach Tony & Coach Moore a real-life couple and professional coaches working together to help other couples resolve their relationship conflicts. We have been running a successful small business for over 15 years. In 2016 we started a new venture Marriage Means Moore. We recently expanded our business by branching out to a new division, the Inspired By Us Shop!
Now that we know precisely which mistakes to avoid and how to overcome them, setting up a new business is significantly less stressful for us. The Inspired By Us Shop is especially close to your hearts since it results from our affection of twenty-eight years together. We have consolidated our favorite aromas, interests, and extravagances into our new product lines called Hubby and Wifey. However, to say we never went haywire in the beginning would be the biggest understatement of the year.
That’s because, like any other first-time small business owners, we had to fight through our fair share of issues, from establishing an adequate customer base to setting up an online website. Nevertheless, even though we were standing on shaky grounds initially, it didn’t take us long to realize that we had to get all our bases covered if we wanted to enter the competitive field of entrepreneurship. Therefore, we studied, researched, and developed multiple plans of action to tend to all kinds of potential scenarios. Eventually, it all worked out for us better than we could have even imagined. We want to share some of our pitfalls to help other couples and/or small business owners avoid the mistakes we made early on.
How Can We Help?
So, if you were wondering how we could help you make a mark in the competitive field when starting your new small business, it’s because we can speak from fresh experience. If you’re interested in creating a solid foundation for your small business from the get-go, you can continue reading this article to get yourself adequately informed!
Tips for Success: 11 Common Mistakes to Avoid
1- Not Making a Fool-Proof Business Plan Backed by SMART Goals
Several business owners make the mistake of carrying on their operations without a basic business plan, and that’s what takes them down when they find themselves scrambling to make ends meet while not knowing anything about their operational proceedings or finances. Moreover, even if there’s a business plan, most of the time, it’s backed up by such unrealistic goals that they don’t necessarily make things any better.
To avoid this, you have to develop a solid plan that includes your business strategy (i.e., how to operate your business step-by-step), what each operation costs, how much you anticipate selling, and who your target audience is. All this data should be based around credible information and plans, which you can execute by following SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, Time-Specific) goals.
2- Fear of Failure
Allowing the fear of failure to wane your enthusiasm hurts your business more than you might imagine. That’s because when you are fearful of jumping into new opportunities, it blocks your way to success, closing windows every time they open for you.
On the other hand, when you use your fear as the catalyst that drives you into making dependable plans that cover every potential situation, your business starts reaching new heights!
3- Not Registering Your Business Legally
Another one of the mistakes many new small business owners make is failing to register their company legally. In the U.S., you have to register your organization with your state's corporation division . The government processes your documents afterward, reviewing the information before approving everything. As for online business owners, it is free to register your LLC (Limited Liability Company) for your business in any state.
Failing to comply with this practice may put your business in jeopardy.
4- Failing to Form the Right Entity
Moreover, you can do a lot of financial damage to your portfolio by choosing the wrong entity for your business. For example, many new small business owners form an LLC just because that’s what their friends advise them to do without even knowing what that entails.
It’s crucial to learn which entity to choose because it can cast severe consequences on your business afterward. For example, did you know that when you operate as a general partner, you’re personally responsible for all kinds of business debts – even those that you never agreed upon?
There are several such things you must be aware of before choosing your business entity. That’s why we suggest receiving some startup advice from legal professionals or our coaches to ensure you are structuring your business the right way while saving yourself from unnecessary financial obligations.
5- Working with Someone You Love
Being in love doesn’t always define a compatible business understanding among partners. While it might be tempting to believe that your relationship with your beloved partner can be the perfect deal, that’s now how it usually works out. It especially becomes challenging to take this route when there are no defined business roles for each partner whose goals differ from yours.
If you need a real-life example, remember the blowout between Mark Zuckerberg and his former partner, Eduardo Saverin, about acquiring Facebook’s control...
Not to mention, while it’s natural to share your financial burden with your partner, starting a business with may mean drawing capital from a restricted sources. This translates into putting a more exhilarating strain on your overall operational finances because the business must be funded with bill money!
If you’re still okay with leading on with your business together, like my partner and I did, you have to ensure you can trust them implicitly and set clear boundaries. It’s imperative to make sure both parties understand what’s involved, and it’s even better when each person has some complementary skills to bring to the table. For example, suppose your partner is a finance management guru while you have crazy good skills in the marketing side to balance things out.
6- Not Having a Written Partnership Agreement
In most cases, when couples are establishing a small business they already have an excellent understanding. Therefore, they don’t find it necessary to put things into writing. Case in point, there’s no legal or written agreement to delineate each partner’s rights and responsibilities. That’s because they think they can resolve any matter whatsoever informally, without encountering any hassle.
However, conflicts and disputes between partners can sometimes lead to estranged relationships, which can lead to divorce, expensive legal proceedings, and even emotionally draining. Therefore, it’s best to put your foot down and have a written partnership agreement drawn out before you carry out your business, no matter how great of a bonding you have with each other.
7- Not Identifying Your Ideal Customers or Their Needs
Another rookie mistake couples make is failing to understand their ideal audience or identify their needs. When an organization doesn’t know who they should specifically target, they can’t develop adequate marketing strategies or reach out to potential customers that bring revenue.
Therefore, before launching your business, it’s imperative to identify your ideal customers before making a successful marketing campaign. For this, you need to conduct market research to understand who you are trying to reach and why you’re trying to reach them. Plus, you have to figure out where to find them and how they may react to your particular style of marketing activities.
8- Being Afraid of New Technology
The idea of learning about new technology and exposing your new small business to it sounds intimidating to any entrepreneur. After all, this aspect demands a significant amount of time when you have to learn everything from scratch before implementing your findings. Therefore, when you show unwillingness to adapt to such technological advances, it damages your business structure both in the short and long term.
Since people are getting more and more informed about technology every day, it’s crucial not to let your business fall behind as well. As small business owners, you have to provide new opportunities to your potential clients by advancing your business appropriately. Not to mention, it helps you execute your operations more efficiently while saving money in the long run.
9- Developing an Unattractive Marketing Strategy
Failing to match your potential clients’ standards by carrying out an unappealing marketing strategy loses your business credibility on the get-go. Therefore, if you don’t have the necessary skills to come up with valuable content, it’s best to assign this job to a professional agency or a freelancer.
Plus, marketing can take on several forms. You can target specific fields when catching your audience’s attention, from traditional advertising and word-of-mouth referrals to internet marketing. The only mistake you can make here is assuming that you don’t require a marketing strategy to sell your products or services. A Big No-No!
10- Trying to Do Everything by Yourself
Many couples who are small business owners falsely assume that they can do everything by themselves just to save money on extra resources. While an entrepreneur can do almost everything, a considerable portion of these tasks will likely be done poorly and unprofessionally. Just like any other human being, they may have about two to three natural talents at best. Therefore, when they take on the duty to “do it all,” they end up risking their business’ reputation rather than doing any good.
As business owners, your priority should be to identify each other's talents, focus on them, upskill, and surround yourselves with people who have mastered the expertise you are weakest at. After all, all great companies are built on a concrete foundation of teamwork!
11- Overpricing or Underpricing Everything
Initiating a small business doesn’t always require a large investment. Nevertheless, some couples who are business owners spend a lot of money on everything in the hopes that everything will turn out perfectly. However, you need to understand that you can do everything while remaining under a budget, from receiving marketing help to spending on equipment and software. As long as you are open to explore your options and conduct your research before hiring any outside help, you’ll get the same results either way.
On the other hand, some small businesses fall onto the other end of the spectrum by refusing to spend on the necessary things. While you can take different routes while starting a business within limited funds, saving money on something that drives your business into growth in the first place is never a good idea since it severely limits your potential success.
Wrapping It Up
The biggest mistake couples running a business together can make is underestimating the demands of initiating their startup. However, by covering all your bases and preparing for the hardships in advance, you can make successful entrepreneurs without finding yourself at your wit’s end! Having said that, we hope the tips we highlighted in this article will help you join us by marking your names in the small business sector proficiently!
Lastly, it’s one of the best options to talk it out with a relationship coach . Whether you are looking to figure out how to manage relationship stress, or need help getting your business plan started contact a coach today. You can get your first appointment scheduled now.