KATHMANDU: Running an enterprise with your spouse as a partner is a difficult juggling act, yet there are many
husband-wife business partnerships which have flourished into successful ventures. All it requires is skill, patience, and the
ability to keep work and home separate.“We always wanted to start a business together,” shares Ajay Dhoj Thapa, founder and managing editor of AutoLife Magazine (AL), about working with his wife Shraddha Raj-bhandari, who is the executive director at AL.
Agreeing with this are Anju Rai and Srawan Shrestha, founders of F-Mirror, an online shopping portal. Engaged at the time when they started the business, Rai says, “I was pretty excited to have my future husband as my business partner. Working with your spouse lets you have a clear idea about the business revenue and sort out family expenses accordingly. Moreover, trust is important when it comes to doing business and no one can be as trustworthy as your spouse.”In many ways, the husband-wife partnership works for the same reason that any business partnership does — they have complementary strengths and skills. Sharing a business and life together also brings a level of closeness that most couples never experience. But it is definitely a dicey situation and requires striking the right balance between home and work. It is equally important to understand one’s spouse’s working style, which might not be as expected.Answering the question of what keeps their partnership going, Thapa says, “We have been naturally blessed with a combination of personal understanding, professional support and guidance.” A husband-wife team also works well when the expect-ations and responsibilities are clearly outlined. “I
basically handle the management, while Srawan takes care of other official details,” says Rai about their respective roles at FMirror. “I oversee all editorial, creative and business development aspects and Shraddha looks after finance, HR and administration,” informs Thapa about their clearly outlined job descriptions.However, there are bound to be pitfalls and disagreements. “In case of a disagreement, we prepare a pros and cons list and come to a conclusion. We heavily practice outside consultation too,” shares Thapa, while Rai voices a similar opinion, “We do not get stuck with unnecessary hassles. We put both our ideas upfront, list out the advantages and disadvantages and go with the idea that best benefits the business.”Career experts also advise setting up regular ‘talk time’ to air grievances, share
successes and evaluate where one is versus where one wants to be in the business. “A disadvantage of having your spouse as a business partner would be the stress that spills over into your personal life sometimes,” Thapa states. There also has to be one decision maker in the business. “Sometimes the question of ‘who is the boss?’ arises,” says Rai. “It could be a great partnership but only one person can really be in charge.”However, one of the enormous perks associated with being in business with your spouse is the support that you are able to give each other. “Having a business partner who is your life partner too is great as we can run our business 24/7 if need be, we’re aware that the shoptalk can become all-consuming. In the end, we know our priorities. We love our business, but we love each other more,” elaborates Thapa.