On the next episode of Bethenny Ever After Bethenny Frankel says she has reservations about working with her husband, Jason Hoppy. Though many couples work together very successfully either at a large company, a small company or a company they built together, for many people it can be hard and can ruin a marriage and a business.
“I’ve been talking to my husband about working together, but I don’t know,” Bethenny said in the promo for next week’s episode. “We haven’t taken the full step of really fully working together,” she admits but says it may end up hurting her already precarious marriage. Taking on any partner can put your business at risk for a variety of reasons, wrote Jay MacDonald of Bankrate.com. “When that partner is your spouse, the risks multiply dramatically.”
This is what happened to Heather Armstrong (of Dooce.com.) She recently announced her impending split with her husband Jon Armstrong with the caveat that he find work outside their blogging empire Armstrong Media. The man moved out of his home and job all at once, which has to be a devastating blow. It’s just one example of the risks involved with throwing all your eggs into one basket, as the saying goes.
Some of the major risks that need to be accounted for when working with a spouse include:
- How will your personal relationship fare in the workplace?
- How will you react to suddenly being together day and night?
- How will your roles change?
- Who will be “in charge?”
- How will you resolve conflict?
- Will you be able to separate your personal and business relationships?
“The problem in the case of a spouse is the potential emotional boomerang. Usually what happens is, if it doesn’t work out, the employee leaves and you never see them again,” Craig Aronoff, co-chairman of the Family Business Consulting Group and founder-director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University told Bankrate.com. “But in this case, if it doesn’t work out, you go home and have dinner together. That’s where the problem lies.”
But Bethenny isn’t alone in considering working with her husband. If it does happen, she will be joining the ranks of millions of other couples in the U.S. That’s over a million couples who wake up in the morning, head to the same office, spend their work day dealing with the same business matters and then go home and have dinner. Together. All the time.
“Going in, you’ve got to make sure you’re not following the let’s-have-a-baby-to-save-our-marriage model,” Aronoff warns. “Going into business together to try and save a marriage is, generally speaking, a terrible idea. If you don’t have a strong relationship going in, don’t do it. It’s that simple. It’s not therapeutic, it is very stressful, it adds complexity and difficulty to the relationship.” There have been rumours about marital problems between Bethenny and Jason so this could be a result of that.
However, if Bethenny does decide to go into business with her husband they should keep these tips in mind.
- Clarify and Establish Roles: Alexis Avila of Prepped & Polished said a husband/wife team works well when the expectations and responsibilities are clearly outlined.
- Be Honest: Jacqui Pini of Museum Way Pearls said the level of honesty and trust is second to none and the ideas always flowing- both in and out of the office.
- Get it in Writing: David Goldstein of TeamBonding said you really have to anticipate not only what it would be like to grow together but think about what might break you apart and plan for that, as to an exit strategy, getting everything in writing even if you are best friends, and anticipate change.
- Separate offices: It’s just a good idea.