Two’s com­pany

How Herts part­ners make it as ‘co-preneurs’

Hertfordshire Life - - CONTENTS -

Have you ever dreamed of start­ing your own busi­ness? Dis­cussed it with your part­ner? Hatched a plan to give up your day job and pool your en­ergy and ideas to go into busi­ness to­gether?

If those plans come to fruition, you’ll be part of a grow­ing move­ment of UK co-preneurs. There are cur­rently 1.4 mil­lion cou­ples run­ning a busi­ness to­gether in the UK and this fig­ure is due to in­crease, ac­cord­ing to re­search carried out by FreeA­gent, the on­line ac­count­ing busi­ness.

The ad­van­tages in­clude the op­por­tu­nity to share child­care, work flex­i­bly, re­alise joint hopes and dreams, and en­joy the fruits of your labour rather than work­ing around the clock only for some­one else to reap the re­wards. But is run­ning a busi­ness with your part­ner all en­tre­pre­neur­ial en­chant­ment? Surely there must be things to look out for be­fore you take the plunge?

John Lees, au­thor of How to Get a Job You Love, of­fers some ad­vice: ‘There are par­tic­u­lar is­sues when part­ners work to­gether. And it’s all to do with bound­aries. Be­cause you are liv­ing and work­ing to­gether there are of­ten no bound­aries un­less you put them in.’

He sug­gests mak­ing bound­aries play­ful. ‘Per­haps you could say, “As soon as I’ve taken off my watch it’s time to stop talk­ing about work”.’

An­other is­sue, he says, is to do with ‘ac­count­abil­ity and feed­back’. In­deed. How ex­actly do you fac­tor in a 360 re­view with some­one you sleep with? Could be tricky. John’s ad­vice? ‘The an­ti­dote is to make sure there are other peo­ple around be­cause you re­ally do need ob­jec­tive feed­back.’

Work­ing to­gether and liv­ing to­gether can lead to over ex­po­sure, he warns. ‘And to be slightly grim about it, if the per­sonal re­la­tion­ship fails, you might have to think about how you go your sep­a­rate ways but re­main as busi­ness part­ners. It’s worth ask­ing this ques­tion early on.’

Thank­fully, he ends on a more up­beat note: ‘There are great re­wards work­ing with peo­ple you know well.’

‘There are cur­rently 1.4 mil­lion cou­ples run­ning a busi­ness to­gether in the UK’

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