I can’t believe it’s been ten years since we opened up our first Nhinja.
Time really does fly by when you’re having fun. What’s even more surprising to me is that my relationship with Kang has only grown stronger as we weather the business storms together. I really admire those of you who are able to work hand in hand with your significant other. It’s a dance.
He goes one way and I pull him back. I go one way and he pulls me back. And somehow, we meet harmoniously in the middle. In many ways, we are yin and yang. While Kang provides much needed creativity (food recipes) and technical know how (restaurant operations), I make up the difference on the back end pulling from my love of strategy, marketing, and finance.
There have been so many times we have almost called it quits both in our marriage and business, together. Like the time, an employee stole close to six figures from us by refunding his own credit card over a one year period. (He was a criminal justice major, too.) Because he was our manager, we felt the painstaking wounds of backstabbing. As an involved and engaged employer, there’s nothing we won’t do for our employees short of breaking the law so every embezzlement case hurts us on a very personal level.
Then, there was the time in the beginning when Kang was working 16 hour days to get the business off the ground and I felt like I was raising three boys on my own. Those were hard times.
And that’s not to mention the years where the sales were lean and fights would ensue over finances.
But through it all, we made it. And I think partnering with my husband was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. But I may not be the only one who feels like this…
These days consumers value personal connection over the drum hum of automated businesses. Family-owned businesses bring forth unique, organic side hustles to life. Husband and wife teams comprise of 1.4 million businesses in the U.S. These family run businesses have and can weather the economic downturns better than their corporate counterparts. The difference lies in the founders’ strong belief in their vision, and family and workplace bonds.
Couples who run a business together enjoy a beautiful combination of yin and yang that isn’t found elsewhere. I’ve taken our hard-earned lessons and whittled it down to the best tips for making a couple-owned business not only work, but excel in all parts of life. However, there are potential landmines that you want to avoid. Here are my best couple crushing it tips found by hard-earned lessons learned along the way.
Yin and Yang
We both feel like a key to our success is that we each do what the other views as “the annoying work.” While Kang enjoys the artistic side of their work, I am best at the analytical and business side. This allows each of us to do only what we love. I never have to deal with creating food recipes, and Kang never has to post on social media. By working in tandem, we’re allowed more time with our family. The trick is to find what you both love to do, while complementing each other.
Living the Dream
Another advantage to partnering with your significant other is that you can continue the discussions at home and never have to worry about leaving your spouse at home alone while you work late. In this way, Kang and I were able to grow the business faster. Impromptu business discussions over breakfast or over dinner have resulted in the best strategic decisions for the business. It’s so easy to work day and night. Just make sure you are having off time from discussions about work, too. We do this by leaving our phones at home while on date nights. I’ve made it a thing to take our picture before we leave on our dates so we can focus on each other the rest of the evening.
Communication is KEY
While Kang was the silent, passive aggressive type, I was the hot and heavy one, releasing every thought that came rushing to my brain. These days, we’ve learned how to navigate our feelings in a way that conveys our ideas while respecting each other’s views. I think having an additional business relationship has strengthened our bond. Because we had money and our livelihoods on the line, it forced us to mature faster. We needed to find a smart resolution instead of stonewalling or hastily taking off. The easiest route is to blame, fight, or become passive aggressive. We had to learn how to use alternative methods; better methods to increase communication and thus performance and productivity. It’s important to be a good communicator, both in your personal and business life.
If a couple can withstand the business hurdles that face them, they will eventually succeed not only in business, but in marriage and life.
For more information, visit www.nhinja.com