More than a thousand couples start a joint venture every day and fail miserably. The reason? Lousy management, awful chemistry, a ton of misunderstandings and a heck load of personal drama that gets carried to the office. But there are yet another thousand couples who have successfully made their mark in the market. They have excelled in their venture. How do you think that happens? We are not talking about any superhumans here. They are actual people who had a great idea and decided to share it with the world alongside their partners.
There surely must be something that they are doing right, mustn’t they? The answer is yes, they are. It is no secret recipe. Just a few things that they realised about their relationship before the other couples did.
Alas, if only there were a way to know whether or not your venture would be a success. Well, there is. Here is a guide to see if you are genuinely ready to get into business with your partner.
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1. You are contributing equally to your venture
This does not mean contributing to the joint venture only monetarily. When couples commence a new enterprise together, people around often end up asking them how much money each of the individuals has contributed to the business. But this seems like the wrong question. Instead, what people should be asking is what is each of them bringing to the table. That is where the focus should be. And there should not be any ego about it. Both individuals should be equal in the venture even if one person is contributing monetarily and the other person is contributing mentally and physically. This ensures that you maintain a respectful, professional relationship and a healthy work environment.
Think of it this way. You are working for someone else’s organisation at a low level. But even so, you expect not to get disrespected by your colleagues. You expect to get appreciated for your work. It does not matter what your designation is. What is crucial is that you get an equal say in the organisation when the subject requires your involvement. Therefore, make sure that you get treated as an equal in this joint venture. But before that ensure that you are getting fair treatment in your relationship.
2. You know how to handle each other’s mood swings and temperaments
I consider this to be the ultimate test of any two people in any relationship. Every man should know that a woman is never in control of her moods. They are continually going through hormonal changes. Throughout the month. Similarly, every woman must understand that a man has a lot on his plate in this world. They play too many challenging roles in life, and it is not possible to justify all of them at all times. Therefore, both the individuals should be ready to deal with mood swings and emotional shifts whether it is at work or home.
When you are a couple who is spending all their time together, which includes your work hours. This means you are always next to each other. It can get a bit too much, and you are bound to blow up. Unfortunately, the odds are so that you might end up taking it all out on your partner. And that can be something that will write the end of your relationship. If you can’t find a way to deal with the sudden temperaments or emotional switches, the chances of your business being a success are none in a million.
3. Constructive criticism related to your work does not frighten you both
Constructive criticisms help make a relationship healthy. You cannot expect to spend your entire life with a person who does not like to be corrected and vice versa. Both the partners should be open to growing together. You know yours and each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But you never intend to put the other one down. Instead, you work to make each other better. You complement each other. You are always at each other’s beck and call. Think all this is unrealistic? You could not be more wrong.
There is a luxury apparel brand called Sachin & Babi. A couple started it as a small venture, but it has now grown into a brand that is unfalteringly competing against giants like Gucci and Christian Dior. That is telling something. It happened because they had unwavering support for each other. They were willing to accept their mistakes pointed by the other person and grow along with them. It did not frighten them. When they decided to start the brand, they were ready to face the world as a unit instead of two separate individuals. So if you want that to happen, you have to open the gates of communication.
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4. No matter how chaotic it gets, you are good at communicating
You have orders and bookings coming in all through the day, but you still make time for the midday coffee every single day. That is the way it should be. You know how and when to make time for each other to have a chat. You may be working together all day, but it still is work. It does not really allow you to have a heart to heart.
Mecca and Michael Elliot, the owners of Namaste Nail Sanctuary, swear by one rule – always carve out time for each other. You have to put the professional talk on hold the moment you leave your office. If you can do that, your relationship would definitely flourish even in the chaos.
5. You know that your business would not get in the way of your couple time
Jennifer Wong and Casey Sackett said that they still find it difficult to separate the profession from the relationship. The couple who co-founded the Alt12 Apps claimed that their biggest challenge is to keep the office talk out of the bedroom. No matter how much they try, they end up making their company’s concerns a part of their romantic conversations. And they are still trying to figure out a way to go about it.
The good thing about Wong and Sackett is that they acknowledge that there is a problem. And they are trying to find ways to deal with it. Being married with kids allows them to have different equation altogether. They have a life apart from their business. But it would be entirely different for you if you are merely dating or don’t even live together. Because you would have to make time for romance as it won’t naturally be a part of your lives. And it is going to be difficult if you are already faltering on your way to the romance department even without the venture.
It is advised that you first be entirely sure of your priorities. In case you feel you cannot balance both without ruining things, don’t go through with your business.
6. Both of you know how to separate your professional life from your personal life
The founders of The Liquor Store Luis and Lisa Toro agree that it is essential to separate your professional life from your personal life. For obvious reasons! But their best advice is to travel. They say that it is the only way they are indeed able to get away from their constant work pressure. Every couple involved in business together should be able to build their world in such a way that it brings out the best outcome. You need to achieve true balance in your lives to run a joint venture.
Find out a fitting solution for your relationship, something that suits your arrangement. If you can do that, you would be delighted with your venture.
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7. You have figured out your financial system
Who is contributing and how much? Are you putting forth your halves or is it uneven? It does not matter who pays what. Money should not be an issue later on. None of the partners should raise any questions regarding the other’s financial condition. Be it weak or strong. As mentioned earlier, you need to know exactly what your partner’s position is. And the same goes for you.
Who is going to get the bigger share? Will it be an equal division? Figure out the answers to these questions before you dive into the deeper sea.
8. Each other’s achievements do not threaten you. Instead, you compliment each other
What I love about couples with successful entrepreneurial ventures is that they have the highest level of security for themselves and each other. They take part in their partner’s success. Each achievement is a celebration. It does not matter who achieved what. Instead, what matters is that it happened to them. Their love overcomes their insecurities and rather than considering each other as competitors; they work as a unit.
The very secret to a healthy relationship and a successful venture!
9. The vision of your venture is clear and the same in both your minds
You would not and should not decide to start a venture if you and your partner don’t think alike. It should never be like your partner wants to take your little business a global affair whereas you want it to remain local. You should have the same vision. You should share a common dream. It would be impossible to make it work if you can’t agree on one thing.
And why limit it just to the vision for the business? Both your ideas should be similar or at least be considered. Besides, everything from stationery to the website layout and content should have a consensus. For example, if you are planning to open a book cafe, you should be able to agree on the same kind of arrangement, decor, objective and the likes. And if you can’t seem to agree on similar things, one of you should be willing to cave in to settle for the other’s choice.
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This is very important because you can’t have a successful, long-lasting venture if you are both stubborn individuals. Try to recall the times when you could not agree on one thing. What did you do? Did you give up or did you come to a mature conclusion?
If you have ever heard about a company called Wildfire, it is because they have managed to excel in handling contradicting perspectives given by each other. They say their work life is completely different from their private relationship. If there is a disagreement, they go off the record to solve it. And that is the secret to their venture that became so successful that Google bought it for $350 million.
I hope you are taking notes!
10. The sense of humour never skips your relationship
You know that it is not going to be your last fight every time you argue or disagree with each other. And all your fights eventually end up in some cruel joke or a fun remark. Basically, none of your fights makes you feel insecure about your relationship. Because you know that it is going to work out in the end.
The whole point of this is that you never let the humour escape from your relationship. That is the only thing that makes you stronger. Think about it. You don’t want to be with someone because they make you cry. You are with them because they make you laugh. A sense of humour is the only thing that keeps two people together. So you need to have it in your workplace, too. You may not be ready to start a joint venture with your partner if things become serious too soon and too often between the two of you.
Make it a point to have a comic relief at the end of every serious conversation. Let it develop into a habit. This will help you incorporate this habit even in your professional life. So you will know how to cool things off when the heat turns on.
11. You have separate workspaces because you can’t spend all your time together
Go back to point 3 to recall what I said earlier. When a couple starts working together, they are signing up for something more than just their career. They agree to spend all the 24 hours of their time with each other. And if you don’t already realise it, let me tell you that it is a huge thing to allow your life to revolve around just one person. It is guaranteed to make you annoyed. You will definitely feel frustrated around your significant other because you will be spending so much time together. Thus, the real question is, have you made the necessary arrangements?
The least you should be ready to do is get separate workspaces. This means you need to have an office that is big enough for you to have your timeouts or simply work. You should be willing to have two separate desks or personal zones. If you think you can start your venture in just a 200-sq. ft room, then you are mistaken. I am not saying that you can’t make it work in a small space. But the odds of things going wrong between you are incredibly high.
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12. The effort never goes unnoticed
Your partner should be willing to acknowledge all your hard work for the venture. You should get appreciated for all the ideas you put on the table. It does not matter how good or bad they are. That is the first thing that every couple planning to work together professionally should maintain. However, you need to be sure that it happens in your personal life, as well. You cannot expect your partner to respect your professional ideas and contributions if they don’t do it personally.
This one time, one of my friends called me up. She seemed very excited when she told me that she was going to open a cafe with her partner. As much as I wanted to be happy for her, I just could not find myself doing that. My mind immediately went back to the time when her boyfriend had insulted her in a room full of people. He made fun of her English and ‘proved’ to everyone how dumb she was. He never apologised for it and ended up convincing her into thinking that it was all in good fun. I still can’t let that incident go because it was wrong – no doubts about that.
Fast-forward to a year back when my friend invited us over to her cafe to have one last meal there. The cafe was a success, but their partnership was so bad that it impacted its management. They struggled for a few months and decided to shut it down. Needless to say, they also broke up at the same time. On the other hand, we have the duo from Sachin & Babi who never forget to appreciate each other for everything they have done for their venture. That explains the brand’s success very well.