8 Tips on Buying a Franchise With Your Spouse
Life Partner and Business Partner?
Enjoying a solid, stable marriage can provide a terrific foundation for your financial future – owning a business together. Many married couples are also co-owners of companies, and one of the easiest ways this is accomplished is through the purchase of a franchise. You two have already figured out how to operate a household successfully, so why not take the next logical step and run a business? As in any relationship, there are pitfalls to avoid and caution lights to note. The concept is not for everyone. But if you have an urge to , your greatest fan – your spouse – can also be your ideal business partner. Here are some things to consider, if you are thinking about along with your husband or wife.
Tip One – Examine Your Skills
Each of us has abilities in certain areas. You may be good at math, while your spouse has trouble balancing the checkbook. He or she may enjoy talking to people all day long, and you cringe whenever the doorbell rings at home. Make a list of all the responsibilities you will have as franchise owners – marketing, managing others, restocking inventory, and so on – and review them with your spouse based upon your respective skills and the things you each enjoy doing. If the two of you share a number of skills and interests while others fall through the cracks, you may want to look for an employee or another partner who will fill in those gaps.
Tip Two – Divide Up the Tasks
Taking that list of responsibilities you created, divide them up between the two of you. This will help you understand what shortfalls there are between you, and having one person in charge of a particular task makes it less confusing for your employees. When married couples own a franchise together, it’s easy for the workers to play one spouse off against the other. This way, if there is an issue that needs to be addressed, everyone in the company knows which party is responsible for settling it.
Tip Three – Be Professionals
One of the most difficult aspects of owning a franchise as husband and wife involves displaying the outward signs of professionalism necessary to run a successful business. Employees, customers and suppliers will be uncomfortable if the two of you allow personal feelings – whether positive or negative – to bleed into the work environment. That discomfort could turn an enjoyable workplace or shopping experience into a creepy one, and your business will suffer for it.
Tip Four – Spend Some Time Apart
Even the most loving and affectionate couples need some time away from each other. This is especially true when you own a franchise together. Too much “couple time” on the job can translate to stress at home. A 24/7 relationship is a difficult one to maintain over long periods of time. One of the best ways to relieve this condition involves altering your individual schedules somewhat. If you have a retail storefront, perhaps one partner would open the place while the other closes it. You will have plenty of time together, but each can enjoy a bit of a break at the beginning and the end of the workday. If you have a work at home franchise, even if one person is generally responsible for making sales calls on clients, trade off this task occasionally. It will give you some “alone” time as well as a chance to see the business from your partner’s perspective.
Tip Five – Respect Each Other’s Outlook
One of the biggest mistakes any of us makes is assuming that other people think the same way we do. Just because you live and breathe your franchise business doesn’t mean your spouse feels the same. Many married couples can work together all day long and then talk about the business until bedtime. Others prefer to set the issues aside when they’re “off the clock.” Discuss this issue ahead of time with your spouse, and you won’t encounter problems at home.
Tip Six – Recognize the Stress
The challenge of starting a business is stressful on anyone. It can be doubly so if a married couple owns and runs that business together. In addition to spending time apart every day, or every week, it’s best when marriage partners also take time to get away from the business altogether. While this may be difficult in the startup phase, or if you two are the only employees, stress levels go down when we’re having fun. It’s also a good idea to have something on the horizon to anticipate. Plan a vacation away from the business – even if it means closing your doors for a few days – and see how much better you work together.
Tip Seven – Separate Your Business and Personal Financials
In some families, the husband pays the bills and looks after the investment portfolio. In other families, the wife handles all that. Occasionally both partners share duties or divide them up. After as a couple, the patterns of married life often migrate into the business. No matter how tempting it may be, you will want to keep your family finances entirely separate from those of your business. This is important from a recordkeeping standpoint – as well as a tax and legal one – but also to help preserve your sanity. Unless one of you is totally averse to “doing the books,” oftentimes it makes sense to have one spouse balance the home checkbook while the other spouse looks after the business accounts.
Tip Eight – Have Fun
Most people because they’re tired of working for someone else and want to secure their personal financial freedom. Owning your own business should be a fun experience. You’re entirely responsible for your success, which can be scary, but it’s also exciting. Take time to enjoy the experience together.