Last time I posted on this topic we discussed how to judge if going into business with your spouse is a good idea. We focused on a series of questions/potential-conflict areas that would help us judge the suitability of such a decision. I had promised to give my answers to those questions and that's exactly what I'm going to do here.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the list when I decided to embark on this journey with the techie, so my answers may be (a lot) less than perfect. Anyway, I'm taking the plunge now:
- Is this what you really want and is it right for you?: The first part of this question is pretty easy. The techie and I have discussed this since the day we got engaged. The desire to go into business together was the one thing we had in common (probably the only one, till today). With respect to the second part of the question, it seems right most of the time because both of us are excited to face new challenges everyday and we can play devil's advocate without getting personal (well most of the time).
- Why are you starting a business?: We both seem to have the appetite to take on risks and we have a shared dream to help the less fortunate through our social business.
- Who's vision is it?: I'm not ashamed to admit that the vision here is the techie's. I'm more of the getting things done kind of person. However, the vision grew from our desire to start a social business and all the research we put in to determine where there was a market gap.
- Are your expectations of work life-balance the same?: We are aware that this is going to be a big part of our lives for the next decade, at a minimum, and have tried to plan our personal life accordingly. In terms of priorities we see eye to eye about 80% of the time, which I think is healthy and partly because we are sharing our life on all fronts.
- Map out areas of management and responsibility: Based on our core strengths, experience and qualifications, we have divided up the work-load as - the techie covers marketing, projects (expansion) and IT, while I focus on operations and finance.
- Can your relationship handle this arrangement?: This is undoubtedly the toughest question of the lot (we seems to have started with the easiest). Initially, I didn't give this much though since we seemed to be compatible on the big stuff, however, it's not all plain sailing. There are days when I really appreciate the fact that we can complement each other both at home and at work, while on other days divorce seems inevitable (luckily these are few and far apart).
So those were my two cents on what it takes to work with your spouse. Though I think it's useful to ponder all the above points, you also need to trust your instincts. Do you think we are really good business partners or just good partners? Let me know if there's anything I missed out or if you need help formulating your answers.