This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

April 4, 2001

Together for Fun and Profit

Our informal research has picked up another interesting trend: more husband-wife (or life-partner) couples working together. While we see a small increase in the number of couples working for the same employer, the trend we sense is more toward couples running their own companies together, many of them home-based.

The opportunities to start or expand businesses today are strong. Looking long-term, there will be plenty of business for a wide range of businesses, particularly those that are cohesive, organized, and somewhat aggressive. Couples managing their own companies are certainly cohesive; their lines of communication are constantly free-flowing. They're organized. They must be to survive the separation of family and business lives. Confident in each other, these couples are often more aggressive in the marketplace.

While much activity in couple-run businesses is in professional occupations, a great many couples are successful entrepreneurs in other fields. They take the franchise route to business development, operating carpet cleaning, maintenance, service, and food businesses. Couples can be highly successful as business partners because they already understand each other; they already have a positive, trusting relationship.

Increasingly, corporate executives are tiring of the politics, bureaucracy, and slow-moving environments of big business. They believe, often correctly, that they have the knowledge, drive, and skills to run their own businesses. It is exciting to leave the protective world of big companies and jump feet-first into one's own venture. The opportunity to build a new business with a spouse is fulfilling, since they can now spend more time together and create something as a team. As business partners, they can support each other in the management of parental responsibilities.

Young people are serious about achieving life balance, that tenuous relationship between work and personal lives. Couples working together can jointly manage when they work, how they work, and when they stop work to be with each other as family partners. People want to see more of their spouses--short- and long-term. Working together helps facilitate their closer relationship.

Watch for more couples to carefully consider their future and make decisions in ways that are creative, stimulating, and fulfilling.

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