Business partnerships usually start off well. You have two (or more) people who share a common vision and common goals and agree on how to split the profits too! The partners work together to get the business off the ground while taking pride in the things you accomplish together.
No matter how well a business partnership starts, this honeymoon period may end eventually. Some partnerships are unable to withstand the inevitable rough patches and disagreements that will become a part of any long relationship. If the partners can’t work their issues out, it might be time to start thinking about dissolving a business partnership.
With so much at stake, including the initial funding for your small business, you do not want to take leaving the partnership lightly. That said, you do not want to stick around in a bad partnership for too long. The following are a few of the signs that it could be time to end a business partnership.
Changing Goals and Values
When you started the business, you and your partner probably agreed on the same goals and company values. In most cases, the shared goals and values are a big part of the reason why the partners came together to start a business.
Over time, the goals and values of different people can change. Maybe you want to take the company in a new direction, or it could be your partner who has a different vision of what the future holds. If business partners cannot get on the same page with the goals and values of the company, it could be time for one of the partners to walk away.
No Respect for Your Ideas
Business partners are going to have disagreements – it’s only natural. In a healthy business relationship, the partners should come together, discuss the difference of opinion, and then determine a compromise that works for everyone.
While this is how a business partnership should work, there are some people who cannot compromise and refuse to consider the ideas of the other partner(s). If you can’t get your partner to consider your ideas, even after attempting to compromise, it is probably time to leave the partnership behind.
Your partner is being dishonest
Honesty is a key component of any healthy business partnership. Problematic dishonesty can range from simple lies of omission to your partner possibly engaging in unethical or illegal activities that could put your business at risk.
If the lies or omissions are relatively minor, address them directly with the partner. If you find that it is something serious (like tax fraud or embezzlement), you need to start working on a plan for dissolution right away.
Your partner is acting irresponsibly
The actions of your partner are going to reflect on the entire business. Even if clients recognize you as stable and responsible, they are still going to have concerns about dealing with your business if your partner is irresponsible.
Irresponsible behavior could take many forms. It could be the irresponsible use of company resources, ill-considered business decisions, inappropriate behavior with staff or clients, or any number of issues relating to the actions of your business partner. In some cases, you might be able to intervene and get them to start behaving responsibly, but there is also a chance that this could be a sign that it is time to end the partnership.
Your partner stops caring
Most partnerships start with each partner working hard to establish the company. However, there are some people who lose interest once the company has settled into a steady flow of work and income. When this occurs, one partner finds that they are doing all of the work while the other is barely interested.
If you find yourself with a business partner who is no longer interested in participating, you might be able to talk to them about the issue. However, there is a good chance that you will not be able to get a disinterested business partner back on track. If you can’t get your partner to start pulling their weight, you need to start looking into plans to end the partnership.
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Learn more on my in-depth blog Business Partnerships 101
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