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, severance, 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 relationship.
- 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 the skilled Atlanta business litigation attorneys at Buckley Beal LLP. With more than 85 years of combined experience handling partnership disputes, 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.