Going into business as a married couple is a major decision because you’re adding a new element to your relationship: that of business partners. Many copreneurs, as they’re calling themselves, have been enormously successful, though, and can credit the strength of their marriages to the experience of running a business together. Running a business as a couple can provide you with more flexibility, more trust in your business partner and greater financial rewards in the long run.
Though many may fear that working together might weaken the relationship, 60 percent of couples polled by small business consulting company Manta say that running a business together actually made their relationship stronger, and would recommend the venture to other couples, according to freelance business writer James O'Brien in his article for the BrandVoice section of Forbes.com James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy, owners of the boutique hotel business Mr. and Mrs. Smith, say that they spend a lot of time together -- “either doing Smith stuff or with the family.” This works for them, as it does for Dawn Casale and David Crofton, co-owners of One Girl Cookies in New York, because they have shared ideals and a love for the work.
Running a company with your spouse also provides you with a more flexible schedule than you might have if you were working for, or with, anyone else. Chris Parke and Jo Lyon, copreneurs at Talking Talent, use this to their advantage. Parke and Lyon focus on coaching other businesses on how to best utilize the talents of their female employees, and they say that they "practice what they preach,” as Lyon works three days a week at the office and spends the other two at home with the kids. Working together means that you can prioritize together and come up with the schedule that works best for both your business and personal lives.
Trust is Built In
While trust with another business partner would normally build through time spent running the business, partnering with your spouse means that you already have a high level of trust in each other. You share the same goals and ideals, and you’re both equally invested in making the business work. “There’s no concern that who you're working with is not aligned to your thinking,” said Parke.
Of course, one of the biggest motivators for both of you in running a business is making a profit, and when you run the business as a team, you’re both benefiting financially. Many husband and wife teams are working from home, starting their business online, to cut down on overhead costs. Some copreneurs have been enormously successful, as has the Mr. and Mrs. Smith team, which adds 200 hotels a year to its portfolio and is looking into going international. Depending on how the business is set up, tax benefits can make a couple-run office quite cost-effective, according to the Small Business Administration.