Jason Newmark & Chelsea Evans, co-founders of Plan My Wedding, Southern Africa’s first online wedding planning platform, allowing couples to plan their own entire wedding here in Southern Africa, give the 6 most important aspects of being running a business and being a couple.
In Shark Tank South Africa, entrepreneurs go up in front of a panel of esteemed successful business moguls, known as the “sharks”, who are willing to invest their own money and time in deserving and potentially lucrative business ideas.
The trick is in convincing these highly critical and experienced sharks that it will be worth their while to bankroll your business, product or invention.
They were successful in securing a $29000 investment, from Gil Oved (Co-founder and CEO of the Creative Counsel – Africa’s largest marketing and advertising company with annual turnovers of R700 million rand and Dawn Nathan Jones (former CEO of Euro Car – leader of one of South Africa’s most successful car rental companies) for 25% each equity stake in their business.
1Have the same company vision
It is important that you both sit down and ensure that your visions for the company are aligned. Once you know where you both want to go in the future, you can start planning and delegating how you aim to get there.
2Make time for yourselves
Operating your own business together can be very stressful and time consuming. Your whole time can revolve around your work and it’s difficult not to always be focused on it.
Your business is always at home with you before hours and after hours. Couples need to make time to leave work ‘at home’ and disconnect from it.
We usually take Saturday or Sunday off and go out and spend time with family or head out and spend the day doing something together. During the week, we usually take one evening off to go on a date night.
If you want to be successful, partners have to be more mindful with their time to make sure they connect on a deeper level with one another and enjoy the things that give meaning to their relationships.
3Find roles that are suited for each person
Running your own business, couples tend to have to multitask and fulfill the many roles that are required, especially during the startup phase and the business is just under way.
You need to clearly define what role each person needs to fulfill and delegate clearly the responsibilities for each department. Each couple will have and specialise in their own set of skills – make sure your skill if suited to your role.
Equal partnership, helps to prevent problems. This helps to reduce jealously and arguments and ensures that each person has an equal amount invested in the business.
You must ensure you have the correct legal contracts draw up as with any business, with terms and agreements between the two partners.
Couples need to remember it is still a business and separate from their relationship and lives, even though they two are entwined. The same policies and procedures still apply. Too often couples don’t have these set up which can cause immense stress and problems should the business or relationship fail.
5Friendship, Trust & Support
One of the main advantages is being able to share responsibility for the success of the business and have constant support and encouragement from your partner.
At the core of surviving a business is friendship and trust. Romance has to take a backseat when you are in the middle of discussing contracts and negotiating for a good deal or making some big decisions about your budget. But friendship can strengthen and enhance your bond as business partners, while trust can help you understand the other person’s perspective with care and with these two, you can climb mountains together. Because we are home more we can also bounce ideas off each other and trust each other’s opinions
With a family you need to be flexible with caring for children and your responsibilities. We actually get to spend more time with Talia (4 years old) and our family as we are home most of the time and having your own business allows you more flexibility.
There are times when working together isn’t ideal. Running your own business can be intense and if things are tough, they’re tough for us both.
When working together, living together, and taking on all life’s challenges together, you need to ensure you’re communicating in an open and honest way.
Working and being in a personal relationship will naturally make you reflect more on your relationship – and that can lead to more conversations about who you are and who you are together the best advice we can offer is to try and remember that it’s going to be a journey. There will be bumps in the road, but you’re traveling together – enjoy the journey.