Every couple, of course, wants to be their own bosses. Nobody wants to stay an employee forever. We’re all looking for a way to leave the eight-to-five job and just run our own business. The most practical business partner would be our spouse. After all, we share finances, dreams, children, home, and many others. Why not be business partners, too, right?
Unfortunately, more than 50% of marriages end up in divorce, which only means one thing: there’s a 50% chance your business will somehow get affected by whatever marital problem you are having. Yes, it’s nice to think that you won’t let that happen, but you know the truth better than anybody else. It is hard not to let personal problems seep into your professional life. After all, you’re not a robot that can switch on and off.
And yet, business experts will tell you all the time: the worst thing you can do is let the personal get into your professional. Personal and business are two separate entities of your life. You are a different person at home and in the office. When you close the front door behind you to get to work, you should also be leaving your personal worries behind. This is the mark of a truly mature businessperson.
Get a Good Lawyer
If you are sharing a business with your spouse, you should know by now that it’s going to be a tough process to nitpick what’s yours and what’s hers/his. Get a good family attorney who can guide you both through the process of dividing the assets, and maintaining the business under both your names. Lawyers will also advise you to seek counselors in regard to your marital woes and financial advisors to get your money in order.
Talk and Negotiate
Are you still friend with your spouse? If you are, why don’t you talk about the business side of your relationship? Sure, it’s hard to talk about the personal stuff but what can you do? You have to face the reality that you are actually in a partnership together. You have to talk about how your personal problems are already affecting the business.
Perhaps, you can choose to come to the office at different times of the day, so you don’t have to see each other? If you need to tell the other spouse something, can you be professional about it? Or, do you need a secretary to mediate? Thresh out the details of how you are going to keep the business going while also facing your personal issues.
Address the Staff
They say that you should always address the elephant in the room, so to speak. Your staff is going to notice that you are not okay. They are going to talk amongst themselves as what’s normal with people. Don’t take it personally. Even you would be curious if your bosses are suddenly not talking to each other.
Instead of letting the rumors spread like wildfire, talk to your staff about going through personal issues in your relationship. Assure them, however, that this should not affect the business and so they should follow your lead.
Take Some Time Off
One or both of you might need some time off from work. Talk amongst yourself who needs some time off more than the other. The thing about having personal issues is that there’s always one partner who is having a harder time than the other. Allow that other partner to take a vacation and rest. More than anything else, it shows humanity on both of your part—that you’re able to let go of the issues for now and be concerned about the welfare of the other person.
Agree to What Will Happen in the Future
What if you cannot fix the relationship anymore? What will happen to the business? In a perfect world, you would already have a provision for that in the business contract. But alas, the world is tough and relationships are more challenging than people think they are. You may not have this provision in your contract, so you need to talk about what will happen to the business. Should the other partner get it? Should it be liquidated? Can the other partner buy you out? These are important things to discuss at the onset of a problem.
Running a business and managing a relationship is not perfect. There are many things that can go wrong in these aspects of your life. But making sure that you are guided by legality will make the process easier. On top of that, if you can agree to separate your business relationship from your personal problems, then all will be well eventually.