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To have, to hold and to franchise: should couples work together?

It would be some people’s idea of heaven or other people’s idea of hell, but there is no reason why a couple who make a good team at home should not also make a good team at work.

It would be some people’s idea of heaven or other people’s idea of hell, but there is no reason why a couple who make a good team at home should not also make a good team at work.  There are successful franchises across Britain run by husband-and-wife teams whose shared vision and determination have been their trump cards. It goes without saying that going into business together is almost as big a decision as getting married, and should not be entered into lightly, but reverently, discreetly and with a hard business head. Here are ten tips for couples thinking of taking the entrepreneurial plunge together.

  1. You must really enjoy each other’s company. Husband-and-wife franchises are not for couples with a track record of getting in each other’s hair.
  2. Choose a franchise which you are both equally enthusiastic about.  If you both share a passion for property, then this is a good start.
  3. Just because you are married, don’t neglect the essential ingredient of any joint business venture: a clear, written agreement.
  4. Assign roles, one of you maybe more suited to the front of house, dealing with customers and sales. The other maybe more comfortable behind the scenes, taking care of accounts or planning. Play to your strengths. Work out which of you is better at what, in a business environment, and allocate tasks accordingly. Ideally, you should have different but complementary skill-sets.
  5. It is not vital that you sing from the same hymn-sheet at all times. Differences of opinion are healthy in the commercial world and can often lead to sensible, practical compromises.
  6. If you have children, or are contemplating having them, there needs to be absolute clarity about who is responsible for child care, and when.
  7. Give each other space. Even though you have decided to go into partnership together, there is a lot to be said for having separate offices and cars, if possible.
  8. Try, within reason, to keep work and life separate. Don’t ruin family meals by focusing on work. Establish work-free time and even zones.
  9. Don’t be too lovey-dovey in front of your staff/business associates. It might irritate them.
  10. Respect is the key. As you show respect for fellow employees in the workplace, show the same amount of respect to your partner. You have probably known each other for years and the shared experiences will set a solid foundation for the future.

With those caveats, we can heartily recommend franchises to couples who make naturally strong teams. A strong bond at home often makes a strong bond at work.

Contact Gina Piper (Business Affairs Manager) on 020 7355 0200 or via email at gpiper@winkworth.com to find out more about starting your own Winkworth franchise. All conversations will be strictly private and confidential.

Find more articles, tips and advice on taking the next step on the  Winkworth franchising blog: www.winkworth.co.uk/estate-agent-franchise

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