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How Indian Couples in Business Are Breaking Age-old Myths One plus one is no longer two but the new 11, and as they say two great minds seldom differ.

By Baishali Mukherjee

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Entrepreneur India

The times are changing and today, a lot of couple-preneurs are bringing in new ideas and dimensions which are scaling up businesses to higher levels. One plus one is no longer two but the new 11, and as they say two great minds seldom differ.

Couple-preneurs, Siddhanth Sawkar and Gauthami Shankar, are the celebrated owners of India's first and only BBQ food truck which they fondly call "The Spitfire BBQ Truck". There are many others as well who are creating ripples in the nascent waters of entrepreneurship by couples!

Entrepreneur India spoke to four such couple-preneurs to understand the opportunities and challenges of couples who are doing business together.

Sharmilee and Nikhil Kapoor, Founders, Atmantan Wellness Resort

Sharmilee and Nikhil share a common passion - health and wellness. So after much deliberation, market analysis and such, they decided to launch Atmantan, a wellness resort.

The couple believes in having "me' times but that shouldn't mean staying isolated or a life of extremes. "while we are constantly trying to improve our work life balance, as couple this becomes even more essential so one can also enjoy being in a personal relationship," shared Sharmilee.

"When you manage to find happiness from within, it automatically helps create happy spaces at work and home. Taking time out also helps regain lost balance, or having long conversations or simply doing exactly what make you feel good!" added Nikhil.

The duo maintained that the Indian start-up industry is big and vivid and couples can normally bring in the Yin and Yang into the business.

"When real life partners share a the professional bond, there is a huge trust benefit and the relationship bond grows stronger as understanding shared on the work front helps avoid personal misunderstandings!" opined Nikhil.

In their business the couple transfers their personal values into the workplace and keeps in mind that a united message from both always leaves a favorable impression with team and guests!

"Also a couple-preneur like us always manages to bring forth varied personal pluses while effectively also eliminating individual weakness, therein becoming stronger and more versatile team! It's really is a win-win situation I'd say," concluded Sharmilee.

Anamika & Anirban Sengupta, Founders, What's Up Cafe

Anamika likes to keep things simple, "I don't carry my work home and vice versa. Now that I am on my own, it has become easier as I can plan my schedule according my commitments/engagements," she shared. Anirban is not in for any balancing act. "During stress periods requirements will overlap and there's nothing you can do about it,' - is his mantra.

The couple has separate responsibilities and their identities do not affect or influence strategic matters. "However since we run a cafe / pub - there are certain operational issues where it does come into play - some issues are best handled by females while others are by the male counterpart. Therefore it balances out and no one is superior or inferior," he rationalised.

Though married, the duo celebrates their individuality with élan. While Anirban loves to travel with his guy gang once a year Anamikas love her solo trips; He may choose to spend one week end at the night club while the lady retires early. Yes, there are differences in opinions but they call it constructive criticism and no one's the winner or loser since the goal is common.

"End of the day what matters is the respect and trust you have for each other," opined Anamika who accepts both the benefits and challenges of couple-preneurship with a sporty approach.

"We are used to perceiving our spouses in a way and when that changes things can go wrong - if one is perceived to be passive at home becomes aggressive at work, perceptions get hurt and misunderstandings may creep in," Anirban warned.

Shaheen Khan & Vasim Shaikh, Founder and co-founder of Council Of Education and Development Programmes Skill Institute

Khan and Shaikh are all for planning and management of time and responsibility between them which helps the couple maintain the balance. "It's all about planned moves, to get the best out of 24hours, we discuss and finalize so as to justify our time towards the balancing act," elaborated the couple.

The duo who prefers thinking and executing from both angles strongly feels that times have changed and both now have equal opportunities to make the most. Power play is what keeps the couple going as they challenge each other to keep the competition and fun involved. "It's fun to race against time and we try to win brownie points over each other, keeping the goals and end objective in mind," quipped Shaikh.

Vrushali & Satyajeet Pradhan, Founders, Bizydale Nets, one-stop solution builder for businesses

Understanding, common goals and zeal to face hurdles together have made this couple's work life balance smooth. "At office it's only business and at dinner table its family issues unless there is a critical situation to handle. On Weekends, we never miss to go on a drive or shopping or movies together," explained Vrushali.

"It's like having a baby where father and mother have equal role to play in building it up!" added Satyajeet.

The best benefit of being couple-in-business for Vrushali is the fact that profit comes to one place and awareness of each other strengths and weakness makes it easy to split the responsibilities and avoid conflicts that happens between business partners.

Challenges are part and parcel of couple-preneurs feels Satyajeet. "At business, you have to be highly professional and at home you have to be loving partners. Facing financial blunt together as there is no other source of income is also an issue. The most daunting one, however, is giving trust and freedom to each other to fly high!" he shared.

Priti & Maulik Shah, Founders Paynear, a transactions processing company

Shahs believe it important to make the right choice, commitment, understanding and the mindset for one's growth, peace and prosperity. "It is also important to let one have their space on decision making and at the same time be bound to family and professional values," shared Priti.

Maulik agreed every role in a business has its own value and so does the genders. "Some jobs have the men play a bigger role than women and vice versa. It's more about knowing the ecosystem and the partners involved in business," he opined.

The core understanding on each other's goals and aspirations to help align the priorities and see the bigger picture outside the day to day chores, is what the couple considers a key for successful couple-preneurship.

Shahs are confident that with a combination of a balanced mind, knowledge and respect for each other couple-prenerus are poised to scale to greater heights, in the business world.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer


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