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Business partnerships can be successful for couples

Although there are limited statistics related to married couples owning businesses together, recent studies indicate that there has been a significant increase in small, family-owned businesses over the past decade. Running a business together provides employment opportunities in a tight labour market, but it also gives couples an opportunity to embrace a more flexible work/life balance.

It's been estimated that three million of the 22 million US small businesses in 2000 were couple owned and that number has likely gone up. In South Africa, this number is lower - but is definitely growing. Richard Mukheibir, CEO of Cash Converters says that they're seeing a growing number of husband/wife partnerships. "We expect this trend to continue with continued pressure in the labour market and as workplace flexibility becomes increasingly important for today's working adults.

The increase of women in franchising plays a role in the growth of husband-wife teams

The latest research conducted by Franchize Directions illustrates a significant shift in the increase of women franchisees, increasing from just under 29% in the 2010 survey to almost 34% of franchisees in 2012.

"Women are becoming more entrepreneurial, they're really strong executers and collaborators and they seem to thrive in a franchising community that breeds openness and mentorship. This kind of performance will ultimately impact the bottom line," Mukheibir says.

In fact, new international research from the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) revealed that couples enjoyed significant income gains from their joint ventures as well as increased flexibility, making it a sound investment for many people.

A better work-life balance gives couples more quality time

"The corporate world can stifle an individual's options for a flexible lifestyle, which explains in part why self-employment is on the rise in South Africa and around the world. Couples who own a business together can arrange to work different shifts to ensure a decision maker is always at the business, and in most cases, your partner would be someone you trust. What one owner lacks in skills, the other can make up for, which means the business is better equipped from an expertise and skills perspective," says Mukheibir.

Businesses with a strong partnership at the helm are more likely to succeed

"A trusted business partnership can show dramatic results in any company, but like any relationship, there are benefits and drawbacks that should be considered by a couple before entering into business together."

For any business partnership to be successful, it's important that both partners are equally committed to the business, share the same value set and that they have the same vision for the company. There must be mutual respect for the qualities each partner brings to business and they must perform roles that are suited to their skills set.