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Couples in Business Together

Couples in Business Together

As a consultant and executive coach in the Philadelphia area, I have worked with numerous married couples in business together. Here is some advice drawn from my work with these couples:

1. Define each person’s roles and responsibilities. You should absolutely make big decisions jointly, but stop trying to make every decision a joint decision. Define each partner’s area of responsibility, and agree on the issues that each will make without consulting the other. This will improve the velocity with which you make decisions. It will also help your employees’ productivity by giving them clear reporting structures.

2. Have a weekly Starbucks meeting. The two of you should meet weekly at a Starbucks or other off-site location. Review the key issues facing your business, agree on next actions, and create a to-do list for each of you. Not only will this make each of you more productive, it will help you to communicate with your staff more effectively.

3. Start planning your exit from your business immediately. This is sound advice for any business owner including couples who own businesses. By planning your exit from your business today, you force yourself to design and build a business that runs without you. In the long-run, this is the key to building a business that can be sold for a meaningful sum. In the short-term, this perspective will help you to design a business that attracts strong employees to whom you can delegate meaningful responsibilities.

5. Keep your personal drama out of your business. Nothing creates a negative work environment like a couple that bring their personal problems to the office. The best employees do not want to be a supporting actor in the drama of your life. Leave your personal issues at home.

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