What to Do When a Business Partnership Sours

Partnerships often play an essential role in helping an organization grow and profit. They can extend opportunities to establish important connections, as well as enable collaborations on ideas with others. But what happens when a business partnership goes south? How do you know when it is time to let go and part ways, or if you have the potential to repair your professional relationship? 


General and Business Fighting

Constantly disagreeing on both important and minute matters could be a telltale sign that you should no longer be working together – and possibly should never have been in the first place. If it’s difficult to agree on things, compromise, or make decisions, how will your business ever advance or grow? You may have vastly different goals for the future direction of your organization as well, which will only continue to cause issues as you try to succeed.

All Work or All Play

If either partner is seemingly putting in more effort than the other, chances are that some resentment is going to arise. Both parties have to care about the business – and be willing to act accordingly – in order to truly achieve significant growth. Whether you’re the one carrying the one that’s losing their passion and motivation, if you’re not in sync with your partner, you’re clearly on different paths and should reconsider your arrangement.

So, what do you do once you’ve established that the relationship can’t survive?

Communication is Key

Like any healthy relationship, discussing yours with your business partner honestly and openly will help you better understand one another. It’s important not to make rash decisions when it comes to ending a professional partnership, though. Figure out where you both are, individually and as an organization, and if the decision results in going your separate ways, be as constructive and diplomatic as possible when ending the affiliation. Perhaps you can maintain a rapport and continue to help each other in complimentary businesses rather than working together directly.

How to Move Forward

In addition to trying to remain civil when parting ways, both sides must decide how the end of the partnership will impact their respective businesses. The process is similar to a divorce and sorting out who will gain custody of the kids. There are three options from a professional standpoint: sell your half to your partner, buy your partner’s half from them (or find another partner to buy out their half), or dissolve the organization altogether. Regardless of which road is taken, attorneys will almost certainly be involved.

Looking at the Big Picture

If a partnership no longer feels beneficial or is even becoming detrimental to your organization, then it’s very likely that the time is right to cut ties. Clinging to fading hopes of success and the thoughts of better days can only keep you going for so long. But no matter how you end your business partnership, it’s important to keep the health of your organization in mind. Even if you’re the one leaving, you’ll want to know that the time and money you put into it wasn’t for nothing.

Onward and upwards!


Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing Writer



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