Independence, OH, April 1, 2022 — Spouses working together in the family business has been commonplace for decades, even centuries. Over the past several years that practice has moved from a workplace to home-based businessesâ€”particularly during the pandemic. While the workplace may have changed, running a successful business while sustaining a happy and healthy marriage faces many of the same challenges. Perhaps even more.
â€œOver the years, we have coached a number of married couples who were also business partnersâ€”or companies where a spouse also worked in the business,â€ said Adam Sonnhalter, one of the owners of Maximum Value Partners (MVP), a small business coaching practice based in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area. â€œIt really does take a special couple to sustain a business and marriage. It also takes a conscious effort for couples to establish guidelines and boundaries so that business and family life are not negatively impacted.â€
Sonnhalterâ€™s parents, John and Terry, ran an advertising agency for more than four decades and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Sonnhalterâ€™s partner at MVP, Jack Mencini, recommends defining roles as the key to setting the tone for good communication.
â€œSpouses can be 50-50 partners in the business but itâ€™s very difficult to run a business with two bosses,â€ said Mencini. â€œTo the outside world and to staff, somebody has to be in charge. Clearly defining that can set the tone, as well as following some dos and donâ€™ts.â€
One of the foremost donâ€™ts is donâ€™t disrespect your spouse in front of your staff. In the eyes of your employees, both of you are the boss and slighting your partner in front of your staff can determine how much respect your mate receives.
A do is always ask if a move or decision is best for the organization. Often times business partner/spouses can make decisions that will make for a more harmonious home life but may not be good business decisions.
Jeremy and Theresa Orsky bought a CARSTAR Collision franchise in 2010. Theresa didnâ€™t work in the business until 2015 when they opened up an additional location.
â€œWe definitely had a conversation about keeping work out of our home life and vice versa. That was challenging at first because we didnâ€™t work in the same building and there would be things Iâ€™d want to discuss,â€ said Theresa. â€œThere were times we needed to have a work conversation at home. Weâ€™d agree to a time to talk about work, have that conversation and then go back to our lives.â€
Communications was a key for the Orskys throughout their ownership of the CARSTAR franchise, the couple sold their business in 2021. In terms of advice for other couples going into business together, Jeremy offered: â€œLimit the electronic conversations you have and have real, face-to-face or phone conversations. You canâ€™t always tell the mood of the person by a text or e-mail, and you can avoid a lot of arguments by having an actual conversation.â€
As small business coaches, Mencini and Sonnhalter have an additional piece of advice they offer to all spouses who run a business.
â€œNo matter what happens at work, never lose sight of why you got together in the first place,â€ said Sonnhalter. â€œThat advice served my parents and all the couples weâ€™ve worked with over the years in their businesses.â€
For more information about MVPâ€™s small business coaching services, visit or call (877) 849-0670 https://maximumvp.com/. You can also get to know MVPâ€™s dynamic duo by tuning into its podcast, Dirty Secrets of Small Business, including an episode featuring Adamâ€™s father, on your favorite podcast player and its website.
About Maximum Value Partners:
Adam Sonnhalter and Jack Mencini began Maximum Value Partners (MVP) back in 2003 as a business coaching practice dedicated to small businesses. Based in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area, the duo takes a different approach to coaching, employing their MVP Playbookâ€”featuring the 7 Keys to Success and the 3 Circlesâ€”while helping small business owners get unstuck from the endless â€œhowâ€ questions that come with running a business. This formula has elevated the games of business ranging from landscapers to IT consultants, body shops to marketing firms.
Since their inception, MVP has worked with hundreds of small businesses with a myriad of issues: improving efficiency, increasing profitability, defining management structures, buying/selling a business, preparing for transitions and more.
For more information on MVPâ€”including Adam and Jackâ€™s long-running podcast, Dirty Secrets of Small Businessâ€”visit https://maximumvp.com/ or call (877) 849-0670.