My husband wants to be CEO but it is my business

Dear Baybars,

I have read all your letters and I think you may be able to help me as well with some advice. I have been working as a business development manager for more than 10 years and suddenly the company made me redundant. Now, instead of looking for another job, I have decided to start my own business. I have attended some events in motivation and personal development and I think I am ready to start. The problem is that my husband wants to become my business partner but I don’t think this is a good idea. He actually has his own full-time job, but also he is always bossy with me and I don’t think it is going to work. I have already done everything, the logo, the newsletter, website, social media and am now ready to register my business and I also want to get a trademark. My husband is all the time interfering, trying to tell me ‘do this and don’t do that’ and I don’t feel comfortable. I have read your interview in Global Woman and I know you are business partners with your wife. My question is: Does this work? My feeling is that two partners in life may find it very difficult to be partners in business as well. What would be your advice? Lora 

 

No company in the world has two CEOs same time

Dear Lora,

To start with, you should have a frank discussion with your husband about the various responsibilities that will be involved in the company you set up, and you and your husband should both agree to respect the rules you establish together, before starting the job.

These rules need to clarify the duties and responsibilities of each party in four main areas of the business:

Management & Organisation

No company in the world has two CEOs same time, not even on a shared basis. This means that either you or your husband will be the CEO, and the final decision about everything will be approved by the CEO before its implementation. From your letter, it seems you want to become the CEO, but I have to warn you that sometimes entrepreneurs who develop the main business idea and the business model do not become good CEOs. That is because setting up a business and managing a company require two different sets of skills. So, please try to think objectively and decide who — either you or your husband — would be the better CEO.

Marketing & Sales

This is the most important department of any small business. Unlike in big businesses, even if you do not have a very good management system in a small business but you have excellent marketing strategies and are good at sales, your business will go well. This is one of the advantages of a small business. With this in mind, if your sales skills are better than your husband’s, I definitely advise you to leave the CEO position to him and you focus on marketing and sales.

Product & Service

I think you have already developed the product or service you plan to sell to the customer, so you have to be responsible for the product or service quality. This means that once you start selling, a significant portion of your time will go to product and service quality checks and dealing with problems and other challenges. You should therefore agree with your husband that he will assist you in the product development process and that in the future he will be responsible for the product or service department.

Financial Management

Who enjoys playing with the calculator more — you or your husband? One of you will need to follow all the financial and accounting aspects of your business, so if your husband has solid experience in accounting, don’t hesitate even one second. Your husband will not charge you as regular accountants do, so this is a great support, especially at the beginning.

As you see, you need not be afraid of your husband’s involvement in your business if you define and clarify the job assignments before starting to work together. Still, in some cases, the the same electricity that makes good life partners can cause a short circuit in business. If you feel strongly that it will be better to run the business without your husband’s involvement, please listen to your inner voice, trust your sixth sense, and do it by yourself! What you have to do in that case is simply to explain to your husband that you want to try by yourself first, and in case you need his support, you will ask for his involvement. That’s all!

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