So try and answer these before you take the leap:
- Is this what you really want and is it right for you?: I think this is the most important question to answer, since a lot of people do things for different reasons even when their instinct is not to go ahead with something. A strong factor to consider is the nature of your relationship, is it a case of opposites attract, peas in a pod or something entirely different. This analysis will let you know what to expect in a working relationship.
- Why are you starting a business?: The reason you are getting into a business may change as you and the business grow over time. However, when starting you need to know if this is something you want to incorporate into your life for the foreseeable future or if you want to build a brand and sell it in the long run.
- Who's vision is it?: Both partners need to be on the same page when it comes to how and in which direction you want your business to head. Have you both agreed on the nature of the business and the method of operation? Do you share a common vision for your future business? If this isn't out of the way right at the beginning (at least on an outline basis) it could cause a bit of strife.
- Are your expectations of work-life balance the same?: This is a potentially explosive area. It starts right from your concept of work ethics (can we check personal mail during working hours, can we work flexible hours) to who handles what responsibilities on the home front and how will you manage personal emergencies.
- Map out areas of management and responsibility: This point may seem simple, since it's self-explanatory. However, when you have people joining your business as employees they will need clarity on the reporting hierarchy.
- Can your relationship handle this arrangement?: The crucial question, obviously. Look at it this way, a lot of people have a baby to try and strengthen a relationship that may not be working. A new business s the same. Have a frank discussion on whether your relationship balance and status will withstand being combined with a working relationship.
Let me know what you make of this exercise. Was it useful? Do you have anything to add?
- Part 3 - My personal answers to these questions
- Part 4 - Guidelines on establishing a working relationship with your spouse