Couples in Business

Nehézségi szint: KÖZÉPFOK B2 (Szerző: Chris Scully)

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1.There are many successful couples who run businesses together. Combining their various skill sets they form a stronger union together than if they attempted to start a business alone. One example of this is a lack of gender equality, where in many parts of the world women may find fewer work opportunities than men. Partnering up can equalize this discrepancy and both can benefit financially from the union. This may be why half of small businesses are family run.

2.However, going into business with a spouse or loved one should never be a decision to take lightly. It needs a lot of consideration. At first glance, spending more time with your spouse while at work might seem a good thing, consider that you will be working together around the clock, you may have to become extra pliable, and you will have to learn how to manage the power dynamic.  All relationships involve power and control, with one half wanting to influence the other. Sometimes the private power dynamic will not fit the practical public business.

3.Take the couple Sophie Mirman and Richard Ross who ran the business Sock Shop from 1983 to the mid-1990s. They started off in 1981 both working for TIE rack where Richard was financial director and Sophie (aged 24) was managing director. They were both ambitious and decided the company was too serious for them. Richard left to start up a hosiery company in ’83 and soon Sophie had joined him.

4.Their motivation in starting this specialist shop was she had experienced great difficulty in buying the right kind of socks in one high street shop, so she had to spend time checking many different shops. She was surprised that such an everyday item should be so difficult to come by. There was a gap in the market for a shop devoted only to socks of every kind. They began their business in underground stations and airports when such shops were not commonplace, then expanded it slowly to become a multi-million pound business with over 100 stores and 80,000 employees in Britain and the US.

Kulcsszavak az 1-4 bekezdésekhez:

ambitious  /æmˈbɪʃ.əs/           around the clock            at first glance        commonplace      discrepancy /dɪˈskrep.ə      everyday               gender equality     hard to come by            hosiery      item               lightly                      partner up    /ˈpɑːt.nər/       pliable /ˈplaɪ.ə.bəl/         skill set                        spouse /spaʊs/                        devoted

1 ____________ is to join with another person or organization in a business activity (phrasal verb)

2 ___________ is the range of things that someone is good at, especially things that are useful in a particular job

3 ___________ is a difference between two things that should be the same

4_________________ is the act of treating women and men equally

5 A ___________ is a person’s husband or wife

6 If something is taken ________ then it is not taken seriously enough

7 If you work __________________ then you work all day and all night (3 word idiom)

8 A _______ person is easily influenced and controlled by other people

9 If a person is ________ they have a strong wish to be successful, powerful, or rich

10 ____ _______ ________ means when first looking

11 ________ is a word used especially in shops for things such as socks, tights, and stockings

12 An ___________ is something that is part of a list or group of things

13 When something is ___________________ it is difficult to find or get (4 word phrase)

14 If something is described as ____________ it is very common or normal

15 ___________ is a synonym for everyday

16 If two people are __________ to each other they are fully committed to one another

5.It was a roller coaster ride for the couple as often with expansion came greater problems of quality control, and when they tried to give franchises it got worse. Then it went into administration twice, and after the last occasion, the administrators recommended that Sophie be kept on in a key role for her business acumen, but the brand was sold into other hands.

Kulcsszavak az 5. bekezdéshez:

acumen             administration                expansion                   franchise                  hands               recommended roller coaster                                                         

17 A ______________ is an exciting fairground ride in which a car on rails follows an up and down track with lots of twists and turns, and it goes very fast.

18 __________ is an increase in size

19 A business ___________ is when a company gives over responsibility for the running of a shop to another person in exchange for money so long as they keep the original brand

20 To go into ___________ is when a business is unable to pay its debts, it is told to make dramatic changes to avoid having to be closed down and sell off all it owns (liquidation)

21 If a person has business ___________ they have a skill to make good decisions and judgements in business.

22 If something is ____________ to you, a person advises you that it is a good thing

23 If something is put into other __________ it is taken over and the responsibility is passed on to somebody else.

6.The couple soon bounced back, after another experience inspired them to create the kids shoe shop Trotters. On many shoe shopping trips with their young children they had found traditional shoe shops were uninviting places for kids to try on shoes, and as parents they found the experience of shoe shopping with children stressful. So, they created a child-friendly shoe shop where kids felt welcomed and at home. Trotters now boasts the Royal family and little Prince George as one of its customers.

Kulcsszavak az 6. bekezdéshez:

boast            Bounce back              inspire            uninviting                         

24 To _____________ from something is to recover and come back to your original form after you have experienced difficulty

25 To ________ sb is to make them believe they can be more than they think they can be

26 If something is __________ you do not want to go there, and you do not feel welcomed

27 If you ________ then you say you are really good at something whether it is true or not

7.Richard says it is important when deciding whether to work with a spouse to ask yourself a few questions to be clear about why you are doing it, these are his rules :“I will not work with my spouse if: I believe it will bring romance back into our relationship, or if I believe it will change the way he or she treats me.

8.Sophie says it is important to remember you can never rest on your laurels and think that a job is done, you constantly have to try to improve and challenge each other. It is important to share things with each other, have the emotional intelligence to know when to broach difficult subjects and understand each other’s moods or feelings. Also maintaining outside or individual interests can be key to balance for many people. The couple have a rule when they’re away from the business not to talk about it, but they say it is easier said than done. Essentially you need the qualities of hard work, determination and the ability to bounce back.

Kulcsszavak az 7-8. bekezdésekhez:

broach                 determination              emotional intelligence                 essentially         Rest on your laurels                      maintain                  key                      

28 To ____________________ is to think everything is going well, and so to stop trying to be successful and just enjoy comfort (Idiom: synonym is complacent)

29 _________________________ is the quality of knowing what to say or not say in certain circumstances

30 When you ____________________ a question you begin a conversation about a certain thing that can be difficult for one or both people

31 If you __________________sg then you keep it in a good or strong condition

32 Something that is __________________ to a situation is very important

33  _________________ is an adverb that means basically or most importantly

34 ________________ is the quality of being strong and not giving up on a course of action despite difficulties or obstacles in your way


noun adjective verb adverb
determination determined determine Determinedly
pliable ply


Kifejezések – párosítsd össze a kifejezéseket:

First part Second part Complete phrase Quick meaning
A hard to 1 your laurels To think you don’t need to try anymore
B around 2 come by Difficult to find/source
C at first 3 the clock Do sg all day and night
D Rest on 4 glance The first time you look into an issue





1 partner up

2 skill set

3 discrepancy

4 gender equality

5 spouse

6 lightly

7 around the clock

8 pliable

9 ambitious

10 at first glance

11 hosiery

12 item

13 hard to come by

14 everyday

15 commonplace

16 devoted

17 rollercoaster

18 expansion

19 franchise

20 administration

21 acumen

22 recommended

23 hands

24 bounce back

25 inspire

26 uninviting

27 boast

28 rest on your laurels

29 emotional intelligence

30 broach

31 maintain

32 key

33 essentially

34 determination


noun adjective verb adverb
determination determined determine Determinedly
essence essential essentially
Maintenance maintained maintain
Inspirational/inspiring inspire Inspirationally
boast boastful boast boastfully
Administration/administrator administrative administrate administratively
expansion expansive expand expansively
pliable Ply Pliably
ambition ambitious ambitiously
devotion devoted devote devotedly
motivation motivated motivate


First part Second part Complete phrase Quick meaning
A hard to 1 your laurels Rest on your laurels To think you don’t need to try anymore
B around 2 come by Hard to come by Difficult to find/source
C at first 3 the clock Around the clock Do sg all day and night
D Rest on 4 glance At first glance The first time you look at an issue



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