Your Spouse, Your Business Partner – Part I

Is It A Good Idea?

A couple looks over a planner together.It can be a great strategy. Two heads are better than one, right? And when you have an extra pair of hands to manage some of the work you can increase your ability to manage client accounts while increasing your profitability. But while your marital relationship may be strong and kicking, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d make good business partners. It’s important to do a little self-assessment before you make such a significant change. Here are five questions you can answer together in order to determine whether or not partnering with your spouse is a good idea:

1. Do you work well together?This doesn’t just mean in regards to your marriage. When you have a home-improvement project are you able to work efficiently together without letting emotions get in the way? Can you put differences aside in order to get work done? When you’re able to focus on what needs to be accomplished without letting disagreements or differences of opinion become obstacles then your spouse may make a good partner for your accounting practice.2. Are your skills complimentary?While your spouse doesn’t have to be an accountant or bookkeeper in order to be a good partner, he/she should have some abilities and skills that would contribute to your business’s profitability. What will he/she be expected to do and how do you anticipate that to enhance and improve your business?3. Are you ready to spend that much time with your spouse?Often couples struggle after retirement because they have difficulty spending that much time together. Perhaps you and your spouse get along fine now, with both of you working separately, but how might that change when you begin sharing an office and your entire workday? You need to know the answer to this question before you commit to an arrangement that may hinder your practice and your relationship.4. Can you set and keep healthy boundaries?One important element of a healthy working relationship is the ability to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Will you both agree on what those boundaries are and be able to respect them? And setting specific and detailed boundaries will enable you to avoid any confusion and frustration later.5. Is partnership financially feasible?In order to pursue partnership do you expect your spouse to quit his/her job in order to contribute to the business full-time? Before taking such drastic measures you should determine whether or not that’s financially feasible. While the partnership will eventually enable you to secure more clients and make more money, that may take some time. Until that happens, will your current income sustain your business and your family? It’s important to determine the financial feasibility of your partnership; nothing puts more strain on a business and a marriage than financial difficulty.

Making your business a family affair can be a great strategic move. A partnership with your spouse could enable you to work more efficiently and increase your work capacity which increases your clientele and ultimately your bottom line. But before you make such a drastic decision it’s important to assess the situation and determine whether or not that partnership would be successful. And if nothing else, at least it know the obstacles you’ll likely encounter.Return next week when we’ll discuss what’s required in turning your sole proprietorship into a partnership in part two of this two-part series.