Franchise Opportunities

Can You Run a Franchise with Your Spouse?

You’re thinking about investing in a franchise business opportunity, and even if you haven’t decided which business option is best for you, you’ve already decided who you’ll partner with to run the business.

For many prospective franchisees, that partner is also their life partner. Many married couples choose to go into business together.

Reasons to do this are many. Sometimes it’s less expensive (maybe even free) to have your spouse stay in the shop while you go out and make sales than to hire someone to take that position. Sometimes it’s a shared dream or a way to spend time together during a post-retirement second career.

A husband and wife team may seem natural. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any problems. Here are some strategies that can make it easier and more successful:

  • Be businesslike. You can be as flexible as you want in the day to day running of the business, but have a businesslike structure in place. Maybe you’re fine with the idea of standing in as counter help at the beginning. If your wife earns $60,000 this year as the owner-manager and you’re still counter help at the end of it, you might not feel so happy. Have a businesslike plan in place for where the company will go and the place each of you will take in it.
  • Act businesslike. You don’t have to tell everyone that you’re married. You can if you want, if it’s part of your brand, but there can be a downside to getting completely relaxed in the workplace. Acting businesslike with one another in the workplace means you’ll be less likely to bicker in front of a client or to act like mom and dad with employees — who do not want to be your kids.
  • Figure out the finances. This can vary from one couple to another, but it doesn’t hurt to have agreements about how you operate the company’s finances. Maybe there’s an amount that triggers a talk — spending $100 without a conversation is fine, but perhaps an expenditure of $1,000 requires a discussion. It can also make sense to have one person in charge of the bookkeeping, and that person could be a CPA instead of either the husband or the wife. Money is one of the top reasons couples fight, so there are risks to trying to share the job, but you also don’t want one half of the partnership to be in the dark financially. Look at the financials together on a regular basis, during a business meeting rather than over dinner.
  • Go home. A new business can take up a lot of your time, and long hours are the norm, but you can also end up feeling as though the business has invaded your lives and you rarely see your spouse, as opposed to your business partner. Save up a great story to discuss over dinner or talk about the nightly news or the kids’ days and save shop talk for tomorrow.
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