Cupid, draw back your bow

Sara Rizk asks if you're ready for business with your other half

An entrepreneur I spoke to a few days ago told me the biggest business challenge she’d faced so far was running her company side by side with her husband. No separation between married and working life, she wakes up next to her only colleague every single morning.

It being Valentine’s Day, the debate about whether it’s wise to start a business with a significant other sprung to mind. The above-mentioned entrepreneur has no regrets about staring a company with her husband, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a daily test.

If the subject of an entrepreneurial venture comes up over your candlelit dinner this evening, there are a few questions you should ask yourself before heading down to Companies House to register your business name.

First and foremost, can you realistically work together without driving each other to distraction? Do you have complimentary skills to bring to the project? How much equity will you each have, and what provisions will you put in place in case of a split?

When I asked Michael Birch, founder of social networking phenomenon Bebo, what it was like starting a business with his wife he said:

“It’s great. You should try it! You’re far less likely to argue over equity if you know it’s your wife or a family member getting the money.”

That’s all well and good if you don’t hit any personal road humps a few years down the line but if there’s one thing to be taken from Sir Paul McCartney’s week in court it’s that legal documentation could save you a lot of time and money.

The Beatles star reportedly refused to sign a pre-nuptial agreement when he married Heather Mills because he considered it unromantic.

I’m not in any way trying to discourage couples from turning their brilliant idea into an actual company, but as with any business partnership, the pros and cons have to be carefully thought through first. Cupid’s a busy little cherub, and he may not have a second arrow to spare if the effect of the first one wears off.

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