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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can spouses stay in love AND stay in business?

Evidently, the answer is yes and here's some tips that might help.
Submitted by Laura Zanzal

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many Americans are ready to surprise their sweetie with chocolates and flowers, but 2.4 million Americans will be showering love and presents to their business partner. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, 1.2 million small businesses nationwide are owned by husband-and-wife teams. 

Randy Rubin, co-founder of West Bloomfield’s Crypton, a textile company that treats fabric to make stain, liquid and odor-causing bacteria resistant textiles, met her husband Craig in 1993.  Three months later, the couple married and started a business together.  Still in love and successfully operating after 19 years, Randy offers five tips for couples ready to take the plunge and start a business together:

1).  Split Your Roles: Randy focuses more on the legal, marketing and retail sales, while Craig is more focused on research and development, running the plant and accounting.  By splitting up responsibilities, Randy believes this allows her and Craig to continue to develop their professional careers in subjects they are interested in.  Furthermore, Randy appreciates that she is able to make decisions on her own in the areas in which she leads.

2). Share an Office: Despite splitting the roles in their company, Randy recommends sharing an office with your spouse.   No one in this world could ever understand how hard it has been to make your small business successful, according to Randy, and by sharing an office, it allows you to both know what’s going on and bounce ideas off each other, since you both are so invested in the business.

3). Don’t Be Scared on the Same Day: There always needs to be one co-founder confident and ready to take on the world, says Randy.  If both of you are scared, it’s easy to be reluctant to make big business decisions.  While one of you may be a little nervous and hesitant, having your spouse as a support system who can push you in the right direction is very helpful.

4). You Can Be Best Friends, But Have Other Friends Too: Make sure that you have other friends and interests with your spouse outside of work so your company doesn’t become your entire life.  Randy, for example, started a fun club with four other couples where each month they tackle one item on their bucket list – like visiting Niagara Falls or trying a new restaurant.

5). Don’t Be Embarrassed to Tell Potential Clients You are Together: Be proud of the fact you are partners – both in love and in business, says Randy.  Many of her potential clients find it charming that her and Craig were married at their initial meeting.  She believes from a selling perspective, it made it easier making follow up calls, as these prospects definitely remembered her and her husband.

Submitted by Laura Zanzal, senior account executive, Zeno Group, New York NY

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