On the Mats: Do Husband and Wife Teams Work in Business?
Question: When you partner had an idea in your business is that called nagging? Let’s go and find out. Hi, Nathan McDonald here, chief business instructor and welcome to another episode of ‘On the Mats’. So what are we going to talk about today? We’re going to talk about whether a husband and wife or girlfriend boyfriend in business can work, and it’s really interesting: I get to meet a lot of business owners that are in that situation where it’s a husband and wife team or it’s a boyfriend/girlfriend team, and it’s really interesting when the partners have an idea in business it’s called nagging, and I always see that when I have an idea – and it could be exactly the same idea – it’s a great idea. And it’s really funny when we look at that and I work with husband and wife teams on how that actually happens.
So how did it get to that point? And I’m going to use me as a case study today, not one of my other clients, because I deal with a lot of husband and wife teams, but I’m going to deal with my own business before I started what I am doing now, when me and my ex-wife – and it is my ex-wife now because I let the business absorb me and overcome me – but reality is we didn’t work well together and there were simple reasons why. We were always talking business. We’ll go out to dinner, we’re talking business; we’ll drive in the car, we’re talking business; we let business consume our lives and that’s what happened and that’s where the relationship really didn’t end up happening.
So, who would like some great tips on how to ensure that you as a husband and wife team can really work together well? Let’s go and see.
Point 1: What you really want to do is to have some clear role definitions in your business. So what does your partner do and what do you do and let them go and make the decisions on it. And a perfect example of this is, my ex-wife in my old business did all the finances and did them absolutely brilliantly but I’d always be chasing up checking. Well I stopped doing that and really all of a sudden let them go and do the finances. What happened then is all of a sudden, it was like hey we don’t have enough money to pay the bills this month in business, you need to go and find some more sales. And that was the most interaction we had with the finances, and that really worked because what it did was enable each person in that role to go get the job done and not have the other person looking over their shoulder, asking, hey has that been done? Has this this been done? Where are we at with this? How are we going with that? Because then that really is nagging. So what you want to do is have some clear role definitions and then stay away from those particular roles.
Point 2: Have some clear guidelines regarding working hours. For instance if you’re working 24/7 in your business have those break-off points for your relationship, that is really important. Have Tuesdays and Thursday evenings for instance as no working after six o’clock, no lap-tops, no mobiles, no emails, nothing like that. Literally do not talk about business, go back to find out why you love your partner, what are the interests, what do you do outside of the business, go and have those evenings, go and book them in. And I know that really sounds really funny to put it in your diary but go and do that, it will really make a difference. So have some clear guidelines on when you talk business and when you don’t talk business.
Point 3: I guess this is a hard one because being partners you want a 50/50 share in everything and that may be the same for the business but reality is someone has to be the final decision maker and it’s very important to understand who the alpha is in your business and it’s not because you’re being undermined if you are going to be the person who’s not the alpha or the decision maker but it’s more of a case that someone really has to take responsibility for the particular business. And dealing with a lot of husband and wife teams it’s really interesting to see that when I go into a business and see there is normally an alpha anyway, so reality is let that person make the final decisions at the end and be clear that that is the final decision.
Point 4: And this was one of the biggest challenges I had in my own business many, many, many years ago, makes me sound old doesn’t it, but one of the challenges that I had was we didn’t have any common goals. What were our targets for the business? What were we both working towards? All we knew is we had to make that living and we had to bring money in day by day, but there was no common goals. So sit down and go, right, what do we want to achieve over the next three months? What are you going to achieve in your role? What am I going to achieve in my particular role, if I was the husband let’s say, what is it, what are the common goals that you guys are working for? Sit down and really set them out and that’s, that will make a big difference because at least when you get to those goals, you can actually say we’ve accomplished something.
Point 5: And this is probably going to be one of the hardest things but I have done this so many times with business owners and husband and wife teams. Reality is realize it may not be working, realize that, reality is your relationship could be very, very heavily affected by what’s happening in the business. So one of the key things is maybe one person should resign and I have done that so many times because reality is that the mix wasn’t working, the business was being affected by that husband and wife team or the boyfriend/girlfriend team and it was really being strangled by the business owners and by the conflict and by the nagging, we’ll call it, inverted commas there wow. So reality is sometimes it is better for one person to resign, maybe go off and get a job and then bring someone in who reality is maybe better at that position any which way. Yes it’s great just to have that notion that, you know, oh husband and wife teams in business, this is going to be great, when you first got into business, but reality is it is a big drain. So maybe it’s time to have a look and find out if it is going to work or not. You know what? It’s okay if it’s not going to work. One person resigns and I’ve got multitudes of resignation letters from clients who have got their wives out of the business or even their husbands out of the business because reality is their business wasn’t going to grow with those people in there. So maybe it’s time to look at one person needs to go to let, to free the business up, to keep moving forward and growing. Well there you have it guys, five really good points about working with your husband or wife or your boyfriend or girlfriend in business. And do face reality, if it isn’t going to work really look at that point five.
So guys, if you’ve got any comments, we’d love to hear from below, love to hear whether your other half is nagging and if I haven’t covered anything, please ask me a question, I’m more than happy to answer for it. We deal with a lot here of husband and wife teams and reality is 90% of the times we normally separate them. So guys if you’ve got any questions. Also go and check out our path to business mastery course, that will help you become a very good business owner and have those foundations in place and you’d be surprised at the value that you get and for how little money that it actually is to help grow your business. So go check it out the path to business mastery course. There is a link below that’s come up on the video, you’ll just see it now, so guys have a great day, really looking forward to our next session of On the Mats. My name is Nathan McDonald, my message is global, I’m an Aussie and my passion is business. Have a great day guys.