Just the two of us

Just the two of us

Just the two of us

A new survey has found that 1.4 million of the UK’s 4.7 million family-owned businesses are run by couples, or ‘copreneurs’, with the figure expected to rise within the year.

According to the survey, many entrepreneurs who want to start a business this year would like to do so with their life partner, possibly because they like the idea of co-ordinating their work around family commitments and having all their household and business finances in one place.

They could even earn more, as recent research from the Harvard Business Review found that women who start a business with their partners earn 27 per cent more than before they were in a copreneur relationship. Meanwhile, in relationships with just one entrepreneur, women earned 33 per cent less than copreneurs.

As one of the survey’s authors pointed out, going it alone can be extremely rewarding but, while many choose to set off completely alone, there will be a significant number who choose to couple up with their partner.

However, there is one caveat; sharing a business and bank accountants could lead to tensions that end up in the divorce courts, so married entrepreneurial couples should ensure they create a written founders agreement and a pre or post-nuptial agreement to avoid potential problems in the future.

Of course, the partnership need not be romantic as well as business-like; many entrepreneurs team up with friends, dispelling the myth that one should never mix business with pleasure.

As one successful serial entrepreneur points out, there are some friendships that would not stand the test of running a business together but if friends share the same vision, have complementary skills and are both able to cope with pressure, then it could be the perfect partnership.

Dean McCormack

Small Business Unit Manager
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