You can find countless examples of husbands, wives, siblings, and kids who have pulled together to build successful enterprises.

There are the brothers Walt and Roy Disney, who founded the Walt Disney Company and built it into a global entertainment powerhouse, and International Fieldworks, Inc., a multimillion-dollar company that Barry Allen and Pauline Field created from their home that provides work for hundreds of others through project-management contracts.

For many small businesspeople, teaming up with a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, sibling, parent, son, or daughter may seem like the ultimate dream. And for many entrepreneurs, this dream is a reality.

After all, if working at home is the right answer for you, why not for those you really care about as well? But unfortunately, for others, business spouse partnerships can also turn into the very worst kind of nightmare.

The secret is knowing when to team up and when not to, and what to do when a good team goes bad.

You definitely do want to team up when doing so will create a positive experience for you, your spouse business partner, and your customers. You definitely don't want to team up when doing so will create a negative experience for any of you.

Here are some good times to team up with spouses in business:

  • When a significant other has common skills and interests.

    If you decide to start a plumbing business in your home and your spouse has solid bookkeeping skills that will help you better keep track of the financial end of your business, teaming up makes perfect sense.
  • When a significant other purchases a business opportunity or franchise.

    What better time to team up than when a close friend or relative buys into a business opportunity or franchise? This assumes that the business opportunity or franchise is something that you want to do, too.
  • When a significant other can make a positive contribution to your business.

    There will be times when a significant other is at the exact right time and place in his or her life to make a positive and substantial contribution to your business and to your customers and clients. This is definitely the time to team up, and it's a time when 1 + 1 can truly add up to more than 2.
  • When a significant other has a resource that you need.

    What if you need a large amount of cash to get your business off the ground, and your significant other would like to help by providing you with a loan?

    Or what if he or she has a network of contacts that would be very beneficial for you to approach? Such resource synergies can make teaming up a very smart move.

  • When a significant other has more work than he or she can handle.

    Nothing succeeds like success, as they say, and there may be times when a significant other is so successful that he or she needs help, and needs it fast. Teaming up can be a win-win in this kind of situation.

Not every business team or business spouse partnership is going to work. Working closely together day after day may bring out the worst in your partner, and you should always be ready to break up your team if necessary.

Do not allow a bad situation to become worse just because you are afraid to tell a friend or relative that your partnership is not working out. Always be honest with yourself and with your partner.

With spouses as business partners, never team up out of weakness or pity for a significant other who just can't seem to get his or her act together. Finding the right time to team up is a must if you want your business relationship to be successful in the long run.