Franchising is often compared to a marriage or a long-term relationship. Not only is the due diligence phase very similar to courtship but” the complexities of unwinding the relationship are also very similar to a divorce. For franchisees going into business with their spouses, the similarities may feel more than just coincidental.
For starters, running a franchise with a husband or a wife could have a lot of benefits. While other small-business leaders and franchisees may occasionally feel isolated and lonely, couples who franchise together have the great advantage of being in it together.
Another benefit is that couples who go into franchising together also benefit from having two skill sets rather than one. At Tutor Doctor, we’ve found that one partner may excel at sales and marketing and the other at finance and management. Together, the couple can be stronger as they support each other’s weak areas and benefit from different strengths.
However, there are potential drawbacks to living together and working together. For instance, there can be a danger that the working day just continues into the evening. Unless the couple are strict with themselves, their professional life can become indistinguishable from their private one. This is especially a risk when the business first starts and doubly so when the franchise is run from home because it blurs the boundaries between being on and off work.
Another risk is that changes in either the relationship or the business could end up having dire consequences. Separation in the relationship or the business will undoubtedly have an impact on the businesses performance and tensions in any partnership could lead to the couple having to choose to prioritise either their company or their relationship.
The best way to avoid the potential pitfalls and deriving the maximum advantage of working together is to ensure that the venture is planned carefully and practical advice is sought. Make sure the both of you conduct a personal SWOT analysis for both your relationship and of the business and what it will mean to work together. And be ready to have a frank discussion and honest assessment of each other’s SWOT. If the franchise network has a number of existing franchisees that are couples, speaking to them would give a third-party view of the practicalities which will prove useful.
Finally taking specific legal and accountancy advice will ensure that the business is structured in the best possible way and will also protect against potential ‘what if’ scenarios.
Franchising works because two heads are better than one and couples benefit more than individuals from this mantra. Knowing the drawbacks and sharing in each other’s success can make couples some of the most effective franchisees.