In 2011 I set up my own bridging finance and lending company and for a few years, I ran the whole show, securing, underwriting and completing deals. As the company grew, I brought on my partner, Seema, to share her legal expertise and put her own unique stamp on things.
Going into business with your partner isn’t a decision to take lightly, and at first it was tricky finding the balance between business partner and spouse. Whether you are married, or living with your partner, running a business together adds another layer of pressure onto your everyday life and can make it difficult to separate work from home. I will be the first to admit that there was an adjustment period, where I struggled to hand over control to someone else. But over time we have found the perfect balance where we can both challenge and support one another.
When you start working with one another, it is important that you end up making decisions based on what is best for home life and your business. You will find that your board room becomes your living room and vice versa. This can be a difficult situation to navigate, as when you have had a bad day at work, the last thing you want is for your work issues to follow you home. Where possible, it is good to try and separate work disagreements from your personal life – although they usually end up overlapping. As hard as it is, Seema and I have made a point of not going to bed on an argument.
Our company structure is quite unique as we have moved from away from simply lending and investing money into becoming developers ourselves, and therefore we often have tough decisions to make. In our industry, a poor investment or lending decision can result in a heavy financial losses, and therefore it is important that you trust your business partner when making these decisions with your own capital and especially so when doing so on behalf of other high net worth investors.
We have found that our relationship outside of the office has helped make this decision making processes more efficient, as we are able to sit around and come to a conclusion based on the facts. Seema helps put perspective on a lot of decisions. She doesn’t have just an agenda for business, she has my best interests in mind, as I do hers, both professionally, financially and personally. It can be entirely different when you are in a boardroom with just a business partner, as each partner can have their own agenda and own goals which come together. When you are married to your business partner, there are no external factors at play. You do the best for the two of you- a nice position to be in as there is no hidden financial agendas.
As a result, our relationship has also made it easier to take bigger risks, such as lending our own money into our bridging transactions, as we both fully understand the business. We are able to do transactions that another Director might struggle to get his husband or wife whom wasn’t a part of the business to understand and commit to. It can be daunting, as we have both committed everything into our business, and are aware that there is no safety net of another partner to support us both if things go wrong, but when you work with your partner, having that trust and reassurance in each other’s ability makes all the difference. Although working with your spouse might seem too big a risk to take, the long term advantages are definitely worth it.
Rajiv Nathwani is director and founder of Quivira Capital. Running a business with your partner can be great. According to business consultant Sam Onigbanjo, there is nothing more rewarding than going into business with someone who you love and trust. So how can you work with your partner without having lots of disputes, and it effecting your work-life?
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