business partners

By Rae Steinbach

Why it May be Time to Find a New Business Partner

Business partnerships go through their ups and downs just like any type of relationship. The good ones can withstand turbulent times, ultimately coming through stronger on the other side. Along with such goals as securing small business funding, partnering with the right person may be one of the most important early steps you can take when growing a business. 

However, it is not uncommon for business partnerships to turn sour. Often times the relationship can get so bad that it is not worth saving. When this occurs, you need to start thinking about taking steps to dissolve your business partnership.

Before you make a move to end your partnership, you should think hard about whether it is worth saving. Let’s face it, your small business funding was not easy to secure, but there is a lot at stake and you do not want to make a rash decision. The following are a few of the signs that you may need to consider when thinking about breaking up with your business partner.

An Inability to Compromise

A good partnership is all about compromise. Two people can’t possibly agree on everything, so each partner is going to have to make concessions from time to time, which is a reality that unfortunately some people cannot adapt to. Everything has to be his or her way, and the other partner is always going to have to give in if anything is going to get done. 

If you are in a partnership where the other party is unwilling to compromise, it might be an unhealthy business relationship. You might be able to resolve this issue with a discussion, but it is hard to change a person’s nature. It is more likely that this is a partnership that you need to leave.

They’ve Lost Interest

On the other end of the spectrum, you might have partners who have essentially checked out, meaning  they want you to do everything and make all of the decisions. Some people are good at starting things, but they can’t sustain their efforts for the duration of the enterprise.

This is another situation where it might be possible to save the partnership with a discussion between the partners. That said, if the other person is uninterested, it is unlikely to yield long-term results. If you can’t get your partner back on track and engaged with the business, it might be time to end the partnership.

Honesty Issues

Business partners need to be able to trust each other. If it is an issue where your partner is just failing to keep you abreast of important business matters, try to have a talk with them. Explain to them that you need to know what is going on and that the two of you need to be on the same page.

While minor honesty issues can be resolved, there are some that are signs of serious trouble. For example, if you think your partner is committing bank fraud or embezzling from the company, you could be exposed to significant risk. For serious honesty issues, you need to start making moves to protect your interests right away.

Acting Irresponsibly 

A partner can act irresponsibly in a number of ways. Maybe it is a poor use of company resources or it could be issues with substance abuse or gambling. In some cases, it might be a partner who acts inappropriately with clients or staff. 

Whatever the issue may be, your partner’s behavior can ruin the reputation of your business. It might be possible to intervene, but some of these problems may be beyond your ability to help. If your partner cannot or will not straighten out their behavior, you need to start thinking about your options to dissolve the partnership.

A Different Vision of the Future

Business partners usually start out with the same vision of where they want the business to go. However, a person’s vision can change over time. If you or your partner wants to take the company in a different direction, it could eventually become a problem.

This is another area where dialogue can help. The two of you might be able to compromise or combine your visions of the future to make your business better. If there is no way for the two partners to meet in the middle, then it is probably time for one of you to walk away.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing.

Business partner stock photo by fizkes/Shutterstock