There’s the old adage that suggests you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure! But what happens when you decide to take the plunge? ‘One of the best experiences you end up having’, say couples who run businesses together! We poked and prodded to understand if it is all fun and games to have a business venture with your partner. Bingedaily brings you stories of 3 couples, to tell you the highs, the lows, the adventure that follows when your business partner is also your real-life one!
“The pros definitely outdo the cons”
Odette Abraham and Biju Abraham are dentists by profession, who set in motion their joint venture ‘Braces N More’ a dental clinic, almost two decades ago; Odette as a general dentist and Biju as an orthodontist.
We asked the couple how having a spouse as a business partner has played out, and they grin. “It’s a mixed bag,” they say. “The situation is a great one to be in, as it fosters communication and there isn’t a business rivalry.”
But before we can get our minds whizzing with thoughts of it being a bed of roses, the couple warns, “There’s no break from each other. You work together and live together.” Setting up a business as a couple might not just be everyone’s cup of tea. As a couple, you may enjoy the free flow of minds that brought you together, but it is easy for the lines to get blur over time, and being clear about business roles can stimulate a good work equation.
The couple reiterates the challenges that come with working together. “Sometimes we have opposing views, which one might view as a conflict, but we believe it gives us the opportunity to come up with a more comprehensive plan of action. The pros definitely outdo the cons.”
The dental venture which has grown over the years has been enriched with the toiling of these two. “While there have often been disagreements, regarding the type of treatment to be rendered, the equipment to be bought, the rates, etc. working as a couple has been a great learning experience.”
“Biju is very jovial by nature and he’s always joking around with the patients, the assistants and me. There’s a lot of laughter and jokes that go around the clinic,” says Odette signing off.
“It’s a good idea to have a business with your better half”
Mamta and Kamlesh’s venture ‘The Perfect Blend’ took roots in the very early stages and they hardly suspected it would one day go on to be a full-fledged business. Mamta recounts how it all took shape at the grassroot level of their kids’ snack boxes. “When our kids were in school, I’d send them my homemade chutney with khakras in their lunch box. All their friends were fans of this snack and they’d return home with empty boxes, every day! My kids would pester me to start selling this, but I never heeded it.”
Years later this very art of cooking compelled Mamta to give the business a shot. “I’ve learned the recipe for chai masala from my grandmother, and I always knew there was something exquisite about it.” She jokes about how her husband’s friends would often find excuses to drop in for chai. “Well, our venture is about food! We’ve been brought up in Gujarati and South Indian backgrounds, and a storm in the kitchen is what follows when the flavours of the two blend! That’s what the business is about - The Perfect Blend.”
While speaking of how Kamlesh has been as big a part of the business as her, Mamta recalls how he is dead serious when it comes to work. “I just need to tell him the ingredients required and before I know it, he’s on his way to buy it all. I remember in the infant stages of the business when production had just started, we churned out masala powders by the minute!” This entrepreneur could never have done it without her daughters who were encouraging and more enthusiastic about the business than anyone!
As Mamta and Kamlesh get set to see the business booming, they tell us how being business partners has been a blessing in disguise. “We come from an orthodox society and were often worried that people would speculate we were going through a financial crunch. But that wasn’t the reason behind the venture. Instead, being together through it all has only strengthened our passion towards the business goal. We’ve chosen partnership for life, in everything we do, so extending this partnership to business is definitely a good idea. Having a business with your better half is a big yes!”
Seeing eye to eye in professional matters can be a task! And like every venture, there are conflicts. “We do have disagreements. My husband being a businessman has tons of experience in this field. But when it comes to understanding the sentiments of a housewife, he certainly loses the battle. Jokes aside, he has been the brains behind the profit margin, the rates etc.”
“Every day is a new learning experience”
Ralph and Vanessa decided to launch their dream project ‘The Spice Tales’ ever since they figured out how much fun cooking together was. “We turned our passion into a business overnight.”
According to Ralph, having a business as a couple has been the best decision. “Doing the one thing you love, with the person you love, who could ask for more! You wake up each morning and know ‘work’ is the best place you want to be at.”
Speaking about how one prevents strain on the relationship as they navigate through the business venture, the couple says, “It’s one business but two minds. There is always a leader even if it's between partners. No two partners would merge, if they had the same ideas, instead, rivalry would ensue. We always work around our differences to come to a final mutual outcome.”
As this young couple finds their way through the ups and downs of the business world, they say knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses help them formulate a strategy. “While we do have disagreements, I would prefer to call them a difference of opinion. We evaluate all pros and cons together once we've shared our opinions. No two minds can think alike all of the time, and this is the best part about having two of us involved in the business. It always brings out the best ideas through discussion.”
Planning a business venture as a couple? Well, you may just be ready for it!