Tips for Finding Business Success with a Spouse or Partner

Brad and Sarah Casebier have enjoyed more than 20 years of success together as the owners of Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning, an Austin, Texas plumbing and HVAC provider. Now they want to share their experience in order to help other entrepreneurial couples undertaking business opportunities together.

“Going into business with a spouse or partner presents unique challenges, on top of the usual obstacles new small business owners encounter,” Sarah Casebier said. “But if you’re willing to face those challenges and work together to overcome them, a shared business can also unlock rewards that benefit the business and the relationship.”

The Casebiers have five tips for couples considering going into business together:

Align your vision: Communicate your big-picture goals from the beginning. It’s easy to start working in opposite directions because you assume the other person has the same end result in mind. You’ll work more efficiently, and you’ll also establish good communication habits that you’ll need.

Define your roles: Who’s going to do what? Roles may change over time, and each partner or spouse will juggle multiple responsibilities. But it’s essential that you clearly designate duties and boundaries. It’s equally essential that you own your responsibilities and results, and trust your partner to fulfill his or her roles.

Trust each other: Failure is a part of life. You and your partner will need strength and patience to allow each other to make mistakes. Contrary to popular wisdom, trust is given, not earned. If you both feel free to try until you succeed, you’ll build an environment that inspires confidence and establishes a solid foundation for the future.

Hire a coach: Objective third-party participants can help couples navigate difficult issues and grow together. Business coaches can provide expertise in a range of specialty fields, from finances and sales to training and recruiting. In addition to practical business solutions, the best coaches will offer new perspectives that help improve overall communication.

Practice grace: This is something even the best business coaches can’t teach you. Take as much interest in your partner’s personal journey as you do in your shared business enterprise, and you’ll probably see success in both parts of your life. Ultimately, grace is about trust, giving up control and allowing your partner the freedom to have his or her own experience.

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