Starting a business with your spouse can require a huge adjustment in your relationship. I should know, I have worked with my husband in an international law firm and now in our luxury knicker business, Scrumpies of Mayfair. For the most part it really is the best of all possible worlds to spend the working day with your other half and, for us, it has been enormously satisfying to build successful businesses together. There are some potential pitfalls when you combine your domestic and business life though and here are some important lessons I have learnt along the way:

1.     Have your own space

Sharing the office is fine and it can be fun, sociable and productive. However, you each need adequate space to work. Your own desk and IT set up (including your own printer) is essential.

2.     Respect each other's individual working practices

Just because you would handle your partner's responsibilities in a certain way, it doesn't mean they have to. Your spouse is not your subordinate and can't be told what to do like an employee. If you try to manage your spouse's workload and output, you're likely to land yourself in very hot water so be careful. Address this issue by having a weekly meeting. This is a time when you both have to step away from the distractions of your desk and dedicate yourselves to going through an agenda around a meeting table. This discipline is very helpful for understanding the overall picture and ensuring that you both know what the other is busy with.

3.     Don't forget to be nice

Just because you are married it doesn't mean you can drop pleases and thank you's. Tell your other half when they've done a good job. It's still good to hear and is important for job satisfaction.

4.     Play to your strengths

You will both have different strengths and weaknesses. Divide responsibilities accordingly and remember that you don't have to do everything together.

5.     Understand your impact on third parties

Together you can be an intimidating power block. It's your responsibility to put third parties at their ease. No-one likes to feel they've misread a situation or been tricked, so be upfront about your relationship (especially if you have kept your maiden name).

6.     Don't take it to bed with you (too often)

If you are both enthusiastic about the business, it's unlikely that you'll be able to confine discussions on the business to office hours but try to keep some boundaries. The early hours of the morning are rarely a good time to discuss business! If you find yourself discussing work issues around the dinner table, remember to include others. Children for example, can learn a lot from being part of business discussions.

7.       Stay professional

As the business grows and more employees come on board, be careful to grow your infrastructure accordingly. While candidates may have been drawn to the informality of the business, they will still expect proper management, employment benefits and a professional set up. Just because you are happy to forgo formal lunch hours and spend them with your spouse don't expect others to feel the same. Put in place a proper system of annual reviews and pay structures. These are the issues that all employees care about and, if you want to attract and retain the best, this is vital.

8.     Remember you have another life too

Don't get over focussed on the business side to the detriment of your domestic life. Understand that the children, the dogs, the supermarket trips will go on regardless and have to be attended to as well as everything else. Don't stop valuing this contribution from your spouse just because it is not directly related to your business.

Finally, never forget that the most important thing is each other. Check in with your spouse from time to time to make sure their goals remain your goals. If changes are required, don't hesitate to make them. When it's stopped being fun, flick on the out of office and head for somewhere sunny with dodgy WiFi. All the business success in the world can't buy a happy marriage.

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