Running a family business can be a challenge, but many family businesses succeed. In a recent post on Forbes, Bryan Collins cites a story of Olivia Skuza and Heath Wells – a couple that has run three businesses in the last 20 years. Now, the couple serves as the co-CEOs of NuORDER – a B2B e-commerce platform.
NuORDER has more than 100 employees. The company serves businesses that want to create digital catalogs of their products or services, create and send orders for retailers, and send proposals to prospective partners. Now, more than 400.000 retailers use its business platform. They include reputable names like LaCoste, Ted Baker, Asics, Nordstrom, Levi Strauss & Co, and many more.
How to Run a Family Business with Your Spouse
The following are some tips that may help if you want to run a family business with your spouse, as shared by Olivia Skuza and Heath Wells:
Define Your Roles
The best thing you can do to avoid overlapping is defining your respective roles. Both of you must have different passions and interests. So, define your roles based on things you love the most. For instance, Heath Wells is a visionary individual. He sells dream. Therefore, he takes the roles in marketing, sales, and business development.
Meanwhile, Olivia Skuza makes things happen. He focuses on the customer and execution of business strategies. Therefore, instead of doing things related to marketing, she chooses to focus on customer service and support, product and engineering, and routines.
According to Olivia Skuza and Heath Wells, the key to avoid overlapping and conflicts is defining your swimming lane based on your passion. If you are good at something, focus on it.
Deal with Disagreements Professionally
Despite a family business, make sure to deal with things professionally, including disagreements. There may be some instances, in which disagreements are unavoidable. However, make sure they do not affect employees, let alone the customers. Dealing with disagreements at workplace can be a huge challenge for spouses. The following are some tips from Olivia Skuza and Heath Wells:
- Manage the work issues at the office, rather than at home. They choose to discuss disagreements at the end of the day.
- Discuss the issues professionally as if you are two professional colleagues, instead of spouses.
- Always prepare for the meetings to discuss disagreements. Present facts about the objects being discussed.
With facts in hand, you can discuss the issues rationally and make an agreement on the solution.
Define the Ideal Working Routine
Olivia Skuza and Heath Wells have a commitment to create a balanced professional and personal life. They have a kid. Therefore, they adjust the working routine with family life. Make an agreement on who is responsible for the kid, who does the morning routines at the office, and so on. Both of you can agree on the ideal pattern. You make flip the schedules every day, every two days, and so on.
Skuza and Wells keep their roles balanced. They are parents of a daughter. They are couples, who build a life together. They are co-CEOs of a family business. Therefore, they have a commitment for success.