Have a Happy Martial Arts Marriage
“Honey, I’m home!”
Actor and comedian Desi Arnaz made these words famous with the character Ricky Ricardo in one of television’s greatest sitcoms, I Love Lucy.
While the saying seems common, as a martial arts school owner it may be something that you rarely say. That’s because many schools have only two employees: husband and wife.
Rarely do couples plan to work together – day in, day out – but the improvisation required in small business often forces that situation. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula for preventing problems in a husband-wife operated business, but speaking from decades of experience, we’ve come up with a few tips to help your seas stay calm.
Starting a new business with a spouse is so exciting that sometimes you can fail to plan “who does what.” It seems clear though. The responsibilities of school ownership are obvious. Yet, if roles aren’t clearly defined, then the slightest disagreement can quickly transform into a power struggle. To make sure this doesn’t happen in your case, just be smart and plan your roles ahead of time. Then stick to them!
If you have to venture into your spouses territory, simply let him or her know that you’re briefly helping out. Also, in most situations the husband will be the master of the school, where he will always be addressed as “Yes sir!” Make sure those expectations remain at the school and don’t carry over into the home.
Spousal relationships are very personal; and seeing someone at home and at work, seven days a week can create a very stifling, stressful environment if not handled properly. This frequency and proximity requires you to be very careful with criticisms of each other. For example, you may have a certain way of walking a new student through the process of signing up and joining the school; while your spouse has a different routine. Even if something in the other person’s routine offends you, it’s probably best just to let it slide as long as productivity and success is not being compromised. Rather than doing something wrongly, your partner simply has a different way of doing something and micromanaging every last detail will definitely do more harm than good. In the case your spouse is doing something incorrectly and your school’s success is suffering as a result, simply bring up the issue very politely and in private. In such a case where there really is a guilty party, then willingness to correct the detrimental behavior is essential to not only your school, but also your relationship.
Compliment Each Other
The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” could never be more true than in spousal-owned business. But, we need to take things one step further. Add this to the end of that sentence, “Try to make genuine compliments often.” Nothing is more rewarding than acknowledgement of a job well done, and with all the stresses of business ownership, such praise is at a premium. Just like oil lubricates an engine and keeps it running smoothly, so will compliments in a husband-wife business situation.
Separating professional from personal between business and romance is a dangerous game. People need to feel release, comfort and care. If you take those feelings into your workplace then eventually they become a part of work. After time, even those healthy emotions will become to feel like a component of work. What an ugly thought that is! But it’s a real possibility in this situation. To avoid this pitfall, simply designate personal time and don’t let work infringe on it. Keep your love life out of the school and keep the school out of your love life.
The topic of husband-wife run business is very complex and something that many school owners run into. Hopefully these few ideas present some quality insight or get you to think about your situation with new perspective.