Business partnerships are remarkably similar to marriages: both require shared values, solid communication, and a great deal of work to survive. Interestingly, the track record for business partnership longevity does not compare to that of marriages, as an estimated 20% fail within the first year. In some cases, this is an issue of one partner not fulfilling the obligations that they originally committed to or falling short of what their partner expected of them. In some cases, the issue is a lack of communication or a fatal disagreement on how the business is going to move forward. For some, the end of the partnership comes when one partner simply loses interest. Whatever the case, if you see that your relationship with your business partner is faltering and you want the business to continue operating, it’s important that you approach the situation with care. Here are some tips for ensuring that your business survives a partnership breakup.
The most important thing to strive for in the face of a business partnership is calm. Keep the conversation and negotiations limited to finances and the business itself rather than the personal. Your goal is to keep the breakup professional, so leave anger and blame out of the conversation and focus on moving forward.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are future-focused is to make a list of your priorities and of the facts on the ground. What are the business’s current finances, and your personal ones as well? What is the likely impact of your partner leaving, and what will be the most financially advantageous method for you to go about it? How will you classify your business if it isn’t a partnership? Do you want to find a new partner?
One way to ensure that you are acting strategically and in a way that works towards financially sensible decisions is to limit your communications to times when you are feeling calm. As is true in all relationships, the more emotional, frustrated, or even exhausted you are feeling, the more likely it is that things are going to go off the rails. Keep your emotions out of the conversation.
Perhaps most important of all, do not hesitate to ask for help from a professional. Attorneys who are experienced in partnership breakups, like those at Bochetto & Lentz will be able to help you anticipate and address problems. We can help you adhere to the dissolution terms of an existing partnership agreement or to navigate the process if no such agreement exists, so contact us today!