Starting a business can be both an exciting and frightening endeavor. Whether
you are fresh out of college or are simply looking to venture off on your
own, partnering up with a friend or colleague is often an attractive option
– at first. Unfortunately, like dating relationships, not all business
relationships last forever. In fact, many can become downright toxic over
time and end up harming your business in the long run. If you feel that
your business relationship is heading in the wrong direction, the following
tips can help you determine if it is time to cut ties and move on.
You no longer respect or trust one another: Arguably the most important aspects of a healthy business relationship
are respect and trust. If you no longer feel confident in your partner’s
skills or abilities or are hearing about how your business partner is
disrespecting you behind your back, it may be time to consider going separate ways.
Your values and goals do not match up: While your desires for the progression of your business may have been
similar in the beginning, time can cause you and your business partner
to drift apart and wish to pursue conflicting goals. Likewise, a rift
between you and you partner in terms of company values can cause your
business to lose focus and crumble.
Your communication is poor: If you and you partner no longer talk to each other, or if your communication
frequently leads to conflict or personal attacks, it is likely that your
business relationship has reached an unhealthy stage.
Work ethic is imbalanced: Is your partner so mixed up in the business that it is affecting your
work/life balance? Or, on the flipside, is your partner failing to pull
their own weight? Neither one of you should be running yourselves into
the ground, nor should you have to carry a heavier load to make up for
the other’s shortcomings.
Money is a source of conflict: Your desires on how you wish to spend the company’s earnings conflict
with each other. Perhaps you want to reinvest more money back into the
business while your partner wishes to withdraw profits for personal reasons
or to pursue a separate business endeavor.
How to Peacefully End a Business Partnership
If you have come to the realization that your business partnership is past
saving, your focus should be on ending your professional relationship
peacefully without a lawsuit. The following tips can all be invaluable
to help you achieve a clean split with minimal fallout.
Check your partnership agreement: If you created a partnership agreement, consult with its terms regarding
exit plans, severances, and conflict resolution. While this will likely
not include an exhaustive list of what to do in every conceivable scenario,
it can serve as an excellent starting point for negotiations.
Be reasonable: It is important to remember that if your partnership does not end amicably,
it can end up costing you thousands in litigation and a considerable amount
of time and energy. Be courteous and do not let your pride get in the
way of negotiating an agreement. Think about the future, not your past
Clearly define goals and desired outcomes: When a partnership comes to an end, both partners usually have their
reasons. Establishing a set of mutually desired objectives can help you
operate from a standpoint of respect and fairness, helping you negotiate
an amicable resolution more easily.
Hire an attorney: Ending a partnership can in many ways be similar to a divorce, complete
with emotional ups and downs. As soon as you decide to end your partnership,
retain the services of a knowledgeable business attorney. An attorney
can negotiate on your behalf and ensure your best interests are protected
at all times.
If you have decided that it is time to end your business partnership, contact
Atlanta business attorneys at Buckley Beal LLP. With more than 85 years of combined experience handling
business dissolutions, and other business litigation matters, our team of trusted advocates
can walk you step-by-step through the associated legal processes and help
you move towards a new future.
To find out more about how our teams of
Super Lawyers® can assist you, contact our office online or call (404) 913-7415.