Is it a good idea to ever work with your spouse? If you have the right ground rules in place, it could work. Here, Bynd Artisan’s Winnie Chan shares some tips on how she built a successful business with her husband, James Quan.
Bynd Artisan is the brainchild of my husband, James and myself. We have both invested a lot of time and effort into building the brand up from scratch.
When people find out that we work together, they often ask, “how do work with your spouse, how do you make it work?”
I would say that there is no secret recipe for making it work. There are however rules to maintain workplace efficiency without compromising on a happy marriage. Here are some of the rules to consider if you want to work with your spouse.
1. Have clearly defined roles
If you want to work with your spouse, it’s very important to have clearly defined roles.
I see myself as creative, courageous and I am able to instil confidence in my staff and management team. Hence I am in charge of Finance, Human Resources and Designers Outreach in the company.
On the other hand, James is very outgoing, sociable, and design-oriented. He takes the lead for Business Development and Sales in the company.
With both of us clear on our respective roles, it is easier to split the workload and delegate tasks.
2. Leverage on each other’s strengths and weaknesses
I am very detail-oriented and pragmatic. I also try to put my staff before myself to better understand their current situations.
James is more conceptual and free-spirited. He sees the big picture and focuses on building the brand towards an end goal in mind.
Although we have different personalities, we have learnt to leverage each other’s strengths and weakness. This creates a synergy that weaves our contrasting characters together.
3. Strive to maintain a work-life balance
When you work with your spouse, it’s easy to get so engrossed in operations and ensuring things are running smooth, that you neglect setting aside downtime to unwind.
To overcome this, James and I ensure that we go on a family trip abroad at least once a year. As our children are in their late teens with their own plans and schedules, it gets increasingly difficult to find time to spend with them. By organising family trips, we not only get to spend precious time with our loved ones, but also treat it as a reward for all our hard work.
4. Communication is key when you work with your spouse
Mutual trust and respect are vital in sustaining relationships for the long haul. However, when you work with your spouse, it is easy to lose your cool when things don’t go as expected. When that happens, you may take on a hostile tone and say spiteful, demeaning remarks to your spouse.
Instead of screaming at each other, James and I usually talk things through in the office to come up with solutions to solve the problem at hand. Through communication, we give each other a chance to explain and get our points across. This also ensures that minor disagreements are not brought home after work to turn into a full-blown argument, which may affect our children.
5. Share your passion and work towards a common goal in mind
James and I have always wanted our own line and brand. This dream amplified as digitalisation took over the traditional form of writing and crafting. The fact that we could combine our expertise to create a concept that was new in Singapore, really spurred us on.
I always share this with my team “Everything is possible if we believe in ourselves and keep trying. Be passionate. Live life to the fullest and make your dreams come true.” As long as you and your spouse share similar passions, the chances of your business succeeding by working together towards a common goal in mind is definitely attainable.
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