Family Business

Working with a spouse


4 min




Watch the Huberts, owners of Hubert's Family Outfitters, a second generation, small family business in the retail sector in New Hampshire, USA, share their experience of working together as a couple and learning how to divide roles and responsibilities among themselves. When assigning roles to family members, it is important to consider how their strengths can fit with their set of responsibilities. A role that highlights a person's strengths will aid in generating success for the business.




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Guenter Hubert
I cannot say I am my wife’s boss because she has her vision, she is the mom of the family, she takes care of so much and I take care of so many other things. Like business, we split our family functions along the lines of where our talents best lie. And we do help each other out and I do dishes, I will do laundry, I am the fleet mechanic and she works on all the college loans stuff. We each go with our strengths and that works pretty well. She is her own person, but she makes me look good. (Laughs)

Kathy Hubert
Coming into the business with my husband I did not have any reservations, but I was 23…I should have. (Laughs) I think I developed, it was tough going in the beginning, being very young, how my husband ... View More related to employees, if it was not quite the way I would want it, I would want to fix it. He would probably had less of a problem but I kind of overstepped my boundaries a lot. So we kind of fixed that a little bit, we opened up the men’s store down stairs, he was up, I was down, and that gave us some separation.

I think your business relations sometimes takes on your marital relationship. Being married and being in business together was really hard in the beginning, it was hard because you know, you reflect off of each other. It is also hard because you bring it home, you know, when I probably we were married about ten years, I was like, “Do we have any romance here? Every time we go out to dinner we talk about markets and what you buying, what you are not buying.” And dinner table conversation was like that so you know, sometimes we would take a truce and say okay, store’s closed we cannot talk about it. Realistically that is not the way it always was we just found more space for the other, because when you own your own business you cannot shut it off, but you have got to be able to put the other back in. I think around 4, 5, 6 years we started to beginning to do a truce, look these are your responsibilities, these are my responsibilities, good, bad, or indifferent…stay on your own side. (Laughs) You mature in communications, you mature in the comfortability of your relationship, the business relationship improved.

Guenter Hubert
We are still fairly different as far as personalities go, so her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. And so we have actually shared a lot over the years and made each other I think, you know better people to work for or work with. The one thing my dad always told me is, “If you have a partner in a business, have it be your wife.”