Copreneurs:
Tips for Making it Work

There are many benefits to being copreneurs but couples who choose to own and run a business together must take extra care to look after their personal relationship.

When things aren't going so well in the business or you are struggling to agree with each other, the stress can spill over into your personal life.

Ordinarily most people might use their partner as a sounding board to discuss work problems or disagreements but copreneurs don't have that luxury.

They're in it together, for better or worse.

So, in addition to the usual characteristics that successful entrepreneurs have, couples who are running a business together must also make sure that they adopt certain habits and behaviors to protect their personal relationship.

Probably the most important of these is maintaining good communication.

1. Communication

Good communication is critical between any business partners but especially so with copreneurs.

Even if couples consider themselves to communicate well in their relationship, they often find it's insufficient once they start running a business together.

It's not necessarily the quantity of communication that's important (although you should make an effort to have formal meetings).

The real factor that determines how well you work together is the quality of your communication.

If you make an effort to have honest and respectful conversations with each other, even when difficult issues crop up, you will be in a much better position to navigate the sometimes tricky terrain of running a business together.

How you handle disagreements and conflicts will be the real test of how good your communication really is.

2. Good listening

A large part of what will make your communication effective with each other is listening. Listening isn’t just about using your ears and hearing words. It means making a conscious effort to really sense what’s being said in between the words.

Business Coaching Insight:

“The better you listen, the more you’ll be listened to”

Many people tend to listen with an agenda, in other words, while the other person is talking you’re already planning your response. That means you’re not really listening! Even worse is interrupting.

If you’re a copreneur, make sure you’re always a good listener. When your partner is talking remember this: W.A.I.T

It stands for ‘Why am I talking?”!

3. Mutual Goal Setting

Business partners should always review their business, personal and relationship goals on an annual basis. Couples in business are especially susceptible to not doing this, perhaps because of the ‘forever after’ aspect to their relationship.

Remember that things change, just because you wanted the same thing when you started out does not mean it will always be that way. Review your goals each year with each other and check that each is still happy and satisfied with their role in the business.

4. Respect for each others differences

It is possible that you were attracted to each other initially because of your differences, but they may start to become irritating when you work together!

It is so important for copreneurs to understand and respect each others strengths and weaknesses. Each of you will be good at some things, not so good at others, so do a skills audit and allocate tasks and roles accordingly.

5. Financial Reserves

Financial stress is often cited as a risk factor for divorce amongst married couples and this can be multiplied when you’re running a business together.

Business is cyclical; sometimes the money will flow, sometimes it may not. Having financial reserves in place will ensure that down times don’t cause stress on your relationship.

Also, be aware of each others ‘money personality’. If one of you is very cautious about money and hates being in debt, they may not be the best person to be in charge of the banking if they’re not comfortable understanding how the cashflow in your business works.

Business Coaching Questions:

  • When was the last time you asked your partner if they were still happy with the business and your partnership?
  • Are you being as supportive to your partner as you could be?
  • What could you do today to make their life easier or better?



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