Business With a Spouse: Is It a Good Idea?

The idea of spouses as business partners seems like a money-making idea. You have established trust, honesty, and open communication. Your relationship seems to contain the critical ingredients for launching a business. For instance, no one can go through the difficulties with you or openly call you out for making the wrong decision than your other half. 

But is mixing life with business truly a recipe for success or disaster? We’ve listed several risks of starting a business venture with your spouse. Review the information with your spouse to help you finalize your decision. 

The Risks of Doing Business With a Spouse

Managing a startup with a loved one is not the worst idea. In fact, there are benefits in starting a business as husband and wife, like improving communication and having fun together. However, it comes with a heavier responsibility than launching a business with acquaintances.

If you’re keen on continuing with your startup, it helps to know what problems you may encounter ahead. These are several threats you could face when mixing marriage with business: 

More Financial Pressure

Startups are prone to financial instability in their early stage, whether it’s limited cash flows or not preparing enough capital. Owners can have debts, but often they take funds from their savings to help the company stay afloat. Since you and your spouse are in the same business, taking funds out of your family savings may be risky because there is no income outside the company. 

Breaking the Work-Life Balance Barrier

The great thing about working separate jobs is that you can go home to your partner and rant about work after a tiring day. Doing business with your spouse removes that privilege. Plus, it could also be the root of your stress at work. 

If you argue during operation, seeking space is not an option since you run the business together. When you work in the heat of an argument, you could make bad decisions that will affect your company’s performance and your employees. 

Potential Loss of Business and Marriage  

All startups are at risk of failing due to different factors like the products flopping, lack of workforce, or the bosses having a fallout. 

In unfortunate cases, divorces happen, whether by running a company together or not, affecting the business altogether. Both of you will have to take time off with a good family lawyer to settle the legality of your separation, like splitting the rights to your business. When that happens, continuing to work together could be uncomfortable. One of you could either give way and let the other run the business or find a way to be civil about it. Otherwise, the end of your marriage could also be the end of your business. 

Making Spousal Businesses Work 

Doing business with your spouse is not a bad idea if you maintain open communication and separate marriage from work. Consider how working together could affect or benefit your relationship in your business plans. Talk about what could challenge you as a married couple the longer your company runs and how you will cope with obstacles. 

Damaging your marriage over a business venture may not be worth it. So take time and think about it together.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.