According to a NatWest/bfa franchise survey published in 2006, 28% of all franchises in the UK are run by married couples so it seems as though it’s not only entrepreneurial singles who are investing into franchising. Since launching our first franchised outlet, we have welcomed on board couples who are now successfully running their own successful cleaning business and are continuing to grow. It’s great working with committed couples, dedicated to their family’s financial security while they enjoy the stability of ongoing training and support.
However going into business with someone – whether your partner or a friend – has advantages and disadvantages and setting up a company, particularly with your spouse or partner, comes with its own unique set of challenges and benefits. From our experience working with franchisees who are also couples, we have found that if you are planning to go into business with your other half, it’s important to develop a working style that works for you in order to avoid common pitfalls and reap the benefits of this unique kind of business partnership.
Here are a few hints and tips gleaned from our franchisees over the years:
Play to your strengths
First of all, and before you even launch your business, you need to decide who is good at what and make sure that’s how your partnership is divided. For example, if you are a people person while your partner is more detail-orientated and likes numbers you might want to take over customer service while he/she is in charge of the admin/finances. In order to be successful, you both need to leave your egos aside and recognise your strengths and weaknesses for the future of the business and the benefit of your partnership.
Have distinct responsibilities
It’s easy to want to ‘play nice’ when it comes to allocating responsibilities when your business partner is also your life partner and ignore the formality of task allocation. However, making assumptions about the nitty gritty details of running the business on a day-to-day basis can be a huge mistake. Clearly laying out expectations and tasks and holding each other responsible is a very important part of ensuring the smooth operation of the business in the long-term.
Open and clear communication is at the heart of every successful business and couples running a business together need to keep that in mind at all times (although with Cleanhome, our Genesys™ system certainly helps hugely in this area.) However, when you’re working together in a business environment, remember that your communication style needs to change. You wouldn’t speak to a colleague the way you speak to your other half (we hope!) and you wouldn’t speak to your partner the way you would to your colleague.
When you’re talking to your partner in the working environment, clearly sum up the key points you want to make in the same way you would when communicating with a work colleague. It’ll save confusion and keep you both on track with your work responsibilities.
Find the balance
There are going to be times when a business dilemma will carry over into your weekend away or when a personal argument will find its way into the office. Keeping your work and personal lives completely separate is impossible so it’s all about finding the balance. You should both actively try to draw a line between work and personal life and do your best not to cross it. During working hours, try to only discuss things that directly affect your business and when the business day is over take off your business hat and spend quality time together.
Be mindful of each other
Finally, always respect each other and acknowledge each other’s feelings. Keep in mind that the business partnership with your other half is different to all other partnerships and even though it takes work and requires a different approach, it is a unique opportunity to work with someone you trust and love while achieving a better work life balance.
If you’re looking to start a business with your partner, why not consider starting a franchise with Cleanhome, contact us today to discuss potential opportunities.