There are many good reasons for choosing a partnership path rather than going into business alone, but there can be pitfalls too. As disheartening as it can be to go through a partnership breakup after entering a business venture with a friend or like-minded entrepreneur, it is also all-too-common. Here are just a few of the reasons that partnerships started with the best intentions end up falling apart — as well as some ideas for how to lower the risk that you’ll go through your own partnership breakup.
- Failing to delegate. When you formed your partnership, did you do so with the idea that just the two of you would be operating the business on your own, or did you anticipate hiring help? The truth is that running a business of any kind is tremendously time-consuming, and the more successful you are, the more you will need to bring in people with expertise that neither of you possess. Don’t focus so much on keeping costs low that you add additional stress and responsibilities that are beyond you and bring the partnership to an end.
- Are you both carrying the same amount of the load? Remember when you were in school and you were assigned a group project? It always seemed like one or two people ended up doing all of the work while the others skated by and then shared in the credit. The same thing can happen in a partnership, but with a much greater level of antipathy and resentment building, and eventually leading to a partnership breakup. The best way to address and prevent this from happening to you is to have an open discussion about the different needs of the business and to assign responsibilities between you. That doesn’t mean that things are set in stone: If something is happening in your partner’s life that is taking their attention away, there is a need for flexibility, empathy, and respect. As is true in every relationship, communication is the key.
- Conflicting ideas about the future. Divergent visions are among the toughest thing that can happen to a partnership, and often lead to partnership breakups. The ideas that you had at the start can shift, and though a slight misalignment can usually be worked out, when partners have entirely different goals, timelines, or strategies it can be hard to continue. Make sure that you are having constant discussions about where you want things to go so that you can make sure to keep yourselves on the same path to success.
Partnership breakups are more than disappointing. They also require legal guidance. For help navigating a difficult situation, contact us today to set up a time to discuss your needs.