With numbers between 1.2 and 1.3 million in the United States and steadily rising it seems that the modern family owned businesses are no longer fitly described by the old “Mom and Pop” colloquialism.

In her 2006 book, “Couplepreneurs: Prosperity Through Partnership,” business coach and entrepreneur Jean R. Charles writes that “the fastest-growing family owned businesses today are new businesses started by couples who jointly share ownership, commitment, and responsibility.” “Couplepreneurs” or “copreneurs” are quickly becoming buzz words in the family owned business world, referring to partnerships between spouses. Blurring the lines between work and play, the boom of the business couple is re-inventing the workplace, requiring today’s power duo to be both business and relationship savvy at the same time. Follow along for the latest on how couplepreneurs are shaping family owned business trends as well as practical tips for maintaining a successful partnership, both at work and at home.

Trend: The spouse is the family owned businesses most trusted adviser

Although in 2002 the business accountant ranked at the top of the list, according to the 2007 American Family Business Survey conducted by MassMutual and the Family Firm Institute, the typical family business owner designates his or her spouse as most trusted advisor, above family members like parents or siblings as well as other important partners like the lawyer, banker or non-related colleague. Perhaps the rise of the family owned businesses explain the shift in survey results.

Family Owned Businesses Tip: Place an extra emphasis on clear communication

Dr. Alice Bledig, and her husband Albert Bledig, M.D. grew their family medical practice together from the ground up, often juggling multiple roles and responsibilities in the absence of a fuller staff. Without hesitation, Alice points to Albert as her most trusted advisor. And their secret to 47 years of successful couplepreneurship? “I think communication is very important and I think trust is very important. I trust him and he trusts me to the best thing for our practice.” The 2010 MassMutual study, FamilyPreneurship: What Every Entrepreneur Wants to Know About Being in Business With a Family Member, confirms the importance of communication in the family-owned business world: “According to our research, communication is the most common factor cited as being necessary for maintaining good relationships with family – both inside and outside of work.”

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