They say you never really know a person until you’ve lived with them - wrong! You never really know a person until you’ve run a business with them!
Here’s 21 tips - one for every year we’ve been in business:
DON’T do it! No, just kidding . . .
DO decide who’s the boss (me) and stick to it. If you both think you’re the boss, it will soon become apparent who actually is and no, it’s not the one who makes the most noise. It’s the one that everyone defers to, and it’s the one that no-one praises but everyone looks to for praise. Once you’ve decided or it becomes apparent, you must acknowledge who is the boss. If you don’t your team will play you off against each other.
DO keep busy, that way you don’t have time to date anyone else.
DO work to your strengths (he can do the heavy lifting) - decide who’s going to be responsible for what and produce an organisation chart.
DO review responsibilities in the early days - you might not be as good at something that you thought you would be.
DON’T bring the wife and husband relationship to work. Don’t bicker and argue in front of the team. Be professional at all times.
DO treat each other as you would treat other team members. Be polite and respectful to each other. Respect each other’s space and time. And, if you’re the boss remember to praise him like you do the rest of the team.
DO make the most of travel time - on the way in, discuss the day ahead or plans for the future. Make the most of the fact that you are both a captive audience.
DON’T spend the time travelling home talking about work - leave it at work - make the most of the time to talk about personal plans instead.
DO decide what time you’re going to leave for the day and set an alarm . . . otherwise if you’re workaholics like us you’ll be there till midnight and not realise what time it is.
DO consider Psychometric testing - it will confirm that you were both totally deranged to consider working together in the first place! The penny will suddenly drop as to why you’re both so irritating to each other. Once that’s sunk in you can take the advice on how best to ‘handle’ each other in a work situation and be more tolerant of each other’s foibles.
DON’T compete with each other . . . work together - “Anything you can do, I can do better - I can do anything better than you!” should NOT be your mantra.
DO bury your ego and be prepared to give in if it’s for the greater good of the company. (You can always get revenge later when you cook dinner!).
DO have a common purpose, make sure your goals are the same and for the best of the company, rather than the best for you - that way you’ll both win.
DO focus on business, implement processes and systems to keep you on the straight and narrow. Then if anything goes wrong you can blame the system and not each other. Systems can be tweaked.
DON’T be insular- just because you’re a couple supporting each other, it doesn’t mean you should blot out everyone and everything else . . . embrace the local business community and join in. Do some networking, join local business groups - widen your horizons.
DO make sure you have holidays and make sure you have a good work / personal life balance . . . it’s so easy to fall into the trap of working all the time because you are together.
DO have something you do on your own regularly for a break from each other - you don’t have to be joined at the hip all the time.
DO consider a business coach - they can act as Referee! Choose someone with more experience than you and someone more successful than you and don’t be afraid to take it on the chin!
DO consider becoming a FASTSIGNS franchisee. It’s a great family to be a part of!
And finally . . . DO think yourself lucky that you get to spend so much of your time with the love of your life!