In this day and age there are a lot of families choosing to start a home-based family business. Typically, one spouse may stay home to work on the business and before long the other spouse joins them.
This is our story.
A little over a year after starting our business, Bryan and I found ourselves both heavily involved in making it work.
A lot has changed since the beginning. As part of the journey, lessons have [and continue] to be learned.
It’s through this process that I want to share 5 tips for having a successful business relationship when your spouse is your business partner.
Build on a solid foundation.
“If YHVH does not build the house, its builders have labored in vain…”
– Psalm 127:1a
There is an amazing concept to be learned from that Scripture. One that you can see over and over throughout the Bible.
Having a successful business relationship with your spouse starts with building on the solid foundation of YHVH, His Word, and prayer.
Bryan and I constantly pray over our business, down to the smallest detail.
It hasn’t always been that way, and I for one can tell you that there is a huge difference between praying here and there versus being adamant about praying continually.
If you haven’t already done so, try these practical tips for building on a solid foundation:
- Select a few key verses to write down and put in the area where you do most of your work. I have Scriptures taped to my laptop and on the walls around my little office area.
- Make it a habit to pray over everything about your business. New product? Pray. New service? Pray. New collaboration(s)? Pray.
- Don’t forget your why, and revisit it often. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of owning a business, and even easier to do things that aren’t necessarily part of your why. Remembering why you and your spouse started your business will help you stay on track.
Establish clear roles.
There is nothing like trying to build and run a successful business with your spouse but having not a clue of who is doing what.
Or, try building and running a business without letting your spouse do anything.
Bryan and I have been in both of those situations. And until recently, Bryan wasn’t sure what he could do to contribute to the business. And I was Mrs. Do-It-All, not really allowing him to do anything.
“Wives, subject yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Master. Because the husband is head of the wife…”
– Ephesians 5:22-23a
This concept couldn’t be more important especially when it comes to spouses working together.
There may be cases where the wife “owns” the business, but the temptation that comes with that word should never override the Yah-given role given to the husband.
This is another facet of our business that took a lot of navigation through what we call growth opportunity moments.
Moment of transparency here… I had to come to the realization that just because my role “seemed” to carry more weight didn’t mean that I needed to become the head honcho over this thing.
Truth be told, it’s quite the opposite. Bryan’s role in our business may be considered “behind the scenes”, but it is the most important.
Respect each other’s roles.
It’s one thing to identify roles, and it’s another to actually respect those roles. Big difference.
“In the same way, husbands, live understandingly together, giving respect to the wife, as to the weaker vessel…”
– 1 Peter 3:7
Before your mind starts to wander through all sorts of thoughts about this Scripture, keep in mind the context. It is from yet another passage that speaks of the gender roles of a husband and a wife.
When you read the entire chapter you’ll see that the concept is all built on respect. Respect for and from the husband, as well as respect for and from the wife.
This is super important when your spouse in your business partner.
Those moments when I lacked to include Bryan in any business venture was just down right disrespectful. In the forefront it may have looked all fine and dandy. However, in the background, I was hindering him and our business.
Being respectful doesn’t mean you are cowering down. It means that you value what it is that you and your spouse are trying to build.
Learn to agree.
Yes, I say learn because believe it or not, a business can come to a screeching halt when the business partners don’t agree.
From there a mess can brew, and before you know it, you’re going out of business. (LOL!)
“Would two walk together, without having met?”
– Amos 3:3
Yet another powerful Scripture that lays down a concept that can [and should] be applied to business ownership – especially with your spouse.
For the longest time I would nonchalantly run something by Bryan. I’d introduce it as though it was already a done deal, and if he disagreed, there was a fight.
Not to water down my actions, but I genuinely didn’t know any better.
There was a time when it seemed like our business was a one-man show, but even then I should’ve sought a better understanding of the concept of coming to an agreement.
Fast forward to recent days and we now make it a point to ensure we agree before moving forward with a decision.
Just the other day we couldn’t come to an agreement on a price for a product. So what did we do? After the back and forth, and kicking and screaming [mainly from me], we rested from it.
After taking a break and praying, we then agreed and was able to move forward.
Without profitable communication, it would be really hard to build and run a successful business.
And I’m not talking about just any ole kind of communication.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up displeasure.”
– Proverbs 15:1
“Death and life are in he power of the tongue…”
– Proverbs 18:21a
I talked about growth opportunity moments earlier and it’s fitting to bring them back up here. This is what Bryan and I used to call “arguing.”
In the past when we disagreed, there would be something close to a verbal WW3.
To be more exact, the way I responded would be full of wrath, harsh words, and death. Let me tell you something. That is one of the quickest ways to break down your husband, and in return your marriage and/or whatever else you’re attempting to build.
DON’T DO IT!
Try these practical ways to ensure you have profitable communication with your hubby-business-partner:
- Make it a point to communicate. Nothing fuels growth opportunity moments more than thinking the other is a mind reader.
- Communicate often about business matters. This helps keep everything open and up front – no room for errors.
- Schedule business meetings. Yep! Even when your spouse is your business partner, those meetings still need to happen!
Here’s to a rockin’ business relationship with your spouse.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one lifts his companion up. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I’m not suggesting that working with your spouse will always be easy. But what I will say is just what the above Scripture says – two are better than one and they have a good reward for their labor.
I believe there is a special blessing involved when a husband and wife can work side by side, building something from the ground up. Personally speaking, I know that our family is better for it.
CHIME IN: Do you and your spouse work together? What are some ways you make it work and keep your relationship thriving?