Couples Working in the Same Organization

Often, the proprietors of small businesses are also the head chefs and bottle washers of the establishment. They must be able to accomplish everything at the same time as they are keeping an eye on it all.

If you have a business partner to keep an eye on you, things are a bit simpler, but if you’re in a personal connection with your partner, things might become a little hazy. If you’re running a company with a personal partner, who are you?

Attraction is drawn to those who are different from oneself.
Couples in business may have an edge if the adage “opposites attract” is correct. The importance of roles in any firm cannot be overstated. When there are two left hands and no right hands in a company, a lot of balls go dropped because no one knows what the other one is doing. However, for couples in business, despite the distractions, they tend to take on complimentary positions, ones the partners favor naturally.

Every position is critical.
Gender stereotypes have nothing to do with these chosen positions. Depending on their personality traits, they may be extroverts or introverts, risk-takers or cautious, and big-picture thinkers or doers. Regardless of how big or little a part a person plays, they are all critical to the success of any company. It’s not uncommon for spouses in business to have a split between their technical and commercial interests, but this sort of split is significantly more common than in other unions.

They often start a business together when one of them has some technical skill (like a trade) and the other provides office support but lacks a technical qualification; however, over time, they become quite proficient in the financial and non-technical aspects of the business.

Managers versus technicians
Relationships may be strained by this. The technician’s view of the company is quite different from that of the manager’s. It’s the manager’s job to see whether the company is earning enough money to pay its creditors and chase down its debtors so that it can pay its employees and, if there is any left over, pay itself. As a perfectionist, the technician’s goal is to provide the best job possible for the client, no matter how long it takes or how much money it costs.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, the management must delegate all conversations about the company’ technical components to the technician. When the technician works hard, they never seem to be able to get ahead, leading in disagreements with their spouse over how they want to spend their free time and money.

The manager would probably not be a business partner if the pair were not in a relationship. A doctor’s surgery’s practice manager, for example, is almost always an employee. The management of a couple’s company therefore feels upset that they are unable to encourage the technician as a professional colleague. Perhaps they’re only there because of their personal connection. It’s possible that they’ll begin to believe that their contributions aren’t as significant as they think.

Which brings us full circle to the age-old question: Are you Arthur or Martha, the business couple? As a general rule, Arthur is a guy with a trade and Martha is a woman in charge of a business. However, just as frequently the positions are reversed.

Using a second language
As a service provider, Arthur’s function is well-defined, but Martha’s role is less so. Martha believes she knows where the company is going wrong, but she cannot effectively express that understanding with Arthur, who speaks a different language.