“Don’t mix business with pleasure”, or so the saying goes. It’s a cliché warning us against entwining our professional and love lives, but we’re increasingly seeing couples at the helm of businesses reaching dizzying heights.
Take Alan & Juliet Barratt for example. The couple, who founded nutrition and performance company Grenade, joined us at our CP Talks event in March to tell their story as they celebrated their fifth consecutive year in the Fast Track 100.
On the night, their chemistry shone bright for all to see. They bounced off each other, cracked jokes, and recalled a conversation they had in the brand’s early stages; a time when just £27 remained in the business’s bank account after heavy investment in their products. “We’ll be ok as long as we’re together” – a sign of their belief in each other. And the sort of fearlessness that’s seen them change the face of sports nutrition with one of the most striking brands in the world right now.
Fast forward to our very first Hub CP entrepreneurs’ event, coming soon on October 17th, where we’ll be joined by Tom and Tina Warner; the couple behind Warner’s Distillery.
They’ve poured everything into authenticity, producing innovative, global award-winning gins from their family farm in Northamptonshire. And because of this authenticity, their story is far more compelling, and far more intoxicating than the mass-produced gins that have flooded the market throughout the tipple’s return to popularity (or the “ginaissance”, for short). That’s why Warner’s Distillery are sitting pretty at #6 in the Fast Track 100. And that’s why we’re gasping for a taste of their story on October 17th.
Welcoming these two über-successful couples to our events has got us thinking: are we just suckers for entrepreneurial love stories? Or is there something about heading up a business with your other half that helps it boom?
The benefits of being married to your work (and each other)
When you’re working with your partner, you’re working with someone you implicitly trust. Someone who lives under the same roof. Someone who shares your goals, your passions and your investment in the business’s success.
Entrepreneurship is an emotional rollercoaster; full of twists, turns, ups and downs. When you’re in business with your spouse, you know you can rely on them to stand by your side as you face the challenges of “making it” together. The support, empathy and advice you need to deal with issues and improve your decision-making is there, by your side, day and night. And the shared desire to succeed can strengthen and deepen your relationship.
Your spouse is, more often than not, the person you know best. You understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You know what sort of tasks you both enjoy and excel at as individuals. And that’s really important when it comes to dividing up responsibilities and complementing each other’s skillsets.
Also, because your work schedules are synced, it could give you a lot more flexibility to enjoy time away from work together, too. And there’ll be no more asking your boss for permission to go to your daughter’s sports day, or any other personal commitments.
Then, of course, there’s the financial benefits. You aren’t sharing your profits with other people. They’re going directly into your family’s pot. And for couples who run their businesses from home, the savings on rent and other overheads can be massive.
Food for thought, or an unappetising prospect?
When things are good, they’re great. You can share the joys, the rewards and that sweet, sweet feeling of accomplishment. But when things go badly wrong, it’s not only your business on the line. In some cases, it’s your marriage too.
It’s a case of high risk, high reward. The pressure to succeed and keep your family afloat vs. the thrill of chasing your dreams with the person you love the most. Sure, it’s not for everyone. You might be reading this and struggling to imagine anything worse. But if the success stories of the Barratts and the Warners are anything to go by, maybe the cliché needs a rethink.
One thing’s for certain: we can’t wait for Tom and Tina Warner to join us at our East Midlands office on October 17th. We’ll be treated to the stories and insights behind their artisan gin distillery’s meteoric rise to success. And you know we’ll be treating them to a whole lot of questions. Fancy coming along?