Posted: Mon 14th Feb 2022
Running a business can be good for your relationship, according to research from Enterprise Nation.
More than half of people who start a business say they do it to spend more time with partners and family (52%) with 45% seeing their partner as the first port of call for advice. While in some instances starting a business together can cause issues, a fifth say it made their love stronger. Over a third (35%) said they couldn't do it without their partner.
The research, which polled 1,000 small business owners, found that for most, working with your partner not only involves being together 24/7, it also means sharing tasks that you love – and hate, like accounting, marketing and pitching to stockists.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "Families and partners are vitally important when you start a business and it makes a great deal of sense to not only use the complementary skills your partner brings to the table, but also to support each other and learn together.
"Often couples bring different strengths – and weaknesses – to the business which, if harnessed, can be the basis for a great working relationship too!"
And it often means learning together. These family firms have all taken part in the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, learning everything from how to set up a website to selling online and handling social media.
Sarah and Wil Valovin, Yorkshire Pet Portraits
Sarah and Wil Valovin from Holmfirth, near Huddersfield, set up Yorkshire Pets Portraits together over the pandemic as a side hustle. The business produces digitally enhanced photos of family pets in fancy dress.
Wil saw his dog adventurer business grounded over the pandemic, leaving him with no income. Sarah was a science teacher with a stressful job as head of department at a local school. When they came up with the idea, Sarah left the Bunsen Burners behind and joined Wil, taking over accounts, marketing and delivery. It proved so popular, they now work together full time – they admit it’s been a rollercoaster, but they love it!
Sarah said: "We have been together 30 years – we met when we were 15. He is the love of my life and we worked in our own careers for 20 years before we started up together. We’re a good team. He is creative and has all the ideas. I’m much more practical and organised, so I took over the accounts and learned how to run effective social media marketing campaigns using free resources from the Amazon Small Business Accelerator run by Enterprise Nation.
"I used to get up and leave the house early and I would be away all day. Now I work from one room and he works from another.
"It's been a really positive move for me – I feel much less stressed and can have a free reign in running the business. It’s been great for Wil too. He gets my help getting his accounts into shape, I’m much better at that then he is, and he would freely admit it! And I’m bringing in more business through marketing. We even get the kids to help out when we have a lot of orders to pack at busy times like Christmas.
"Running a business together has been a really good decision for us."
Inga and Janis Petersone, Chic Shelves
Inga gave up a job at the Latvian Embassy in London to create Chic Shelves, making use of her carpenter husband Janis’ skills in hand-making furniture. They now make made-to-order floating solid wood shelves from their home in Wimbledon.
"Janis is my inspiration," says Inga. "He is such a talented joiner and carpenter, he actually gave me the idea for the business.
"I wanted to create something beautiful, something that would bring character to every house, so I came up with an idea to handcraft stylish shelves. Every shelf will be different as it reflects the natural beauty of the grain pattern.
“The shelves are made by hand by me in a purpose-built shed in our garden, but he has shown me how and I am always asking him for advice.
"At the moment we can work quite separately, because Janis is often out working on site. But he is my quality controller and my biggest inspiration. I could not have done this without him and working together has made me appreciate him all the more."
Keisha and Amit Shah, Teddo Play
Keisha and Amit Shah run Teddo Play, a multi award-winning learning resources firm supporting children under five. They both have a background in corporate jobs and Amit still works full time in banking. Keisha is the driving force, but that doesn’t mean Amit’s contribution is not significant.
"To say it's 'hectic' is an understatement," says Keisha. "We have a four-year-old son and Amit is often on shifts which mean he has to be on call through the night. But he is invaluable to the business.
"He does the accounts, files the tax and he even takes the deliveries to the drop off. I couldn’t do it without him!"
The pair, based in Milton Keynes, have been married for 12 years and set up the educational home-based firm when Keisha, a talented linguist, moved out of the corporate world after their son Ayden was born.
"Working together on the business gives us a really nice balance. He's always there to listen to me when I have ideas and he knows that there's no time that's off the limit when I need to discuss things! It's so good to have the frequency and wavelength to match – it really works for us."
The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.
If you’re already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your learning dashboard. If you’re not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.