Business partnerships are often compared to marriages, but the truth is that there are significant differences between the two – with the biggest difference of all being the ‘til death do us part’ bit. When you and your business partner decided to join forces it’s unlikely that either of you thought the partnership would represent a lifelong commitment, but that doesn’t make ending things any easier. No matter how much you may think that a partnership breakup is “just business, nothing personal,” it can still sting to be the one being left behind. Here are some tips for how to keep things professional and maximize your ability to preserve your relationship.
- Don’t let things deteriorate – No matter what your reason for wanting to leave the partnership, it didn’t come to you like a bolt out of the blue. The longer you let the idea fester, the more likely it is that your desire to leave will become outwardly evident … and that is a recipe for hard feelings. When you are thinking of leaving you should be up front and honest with your partner, letting them know that you are ready to move on.
- Keep your emotions out of it – Just because you’re ready to leave doesn’t mean that you need to do so in a way that creates hard feelings. You may believe that your talents are being wasted, or that your partner is lazy or not as smart as you once thought, or that you are working much harder without recognition. You may even have found another partner that you’d prefer to work with. By giving voice to frustration, disappointment, or anger, you move your conversation away from the practical and allow it to become painful. Your focus should be on the best way to handle the intricacies of the business without letting the personal creep in.
- Pledge to continue communicating – Whether you’re breaking the business up entirely or walking away and leaving it in your partner’s hands, it’s important that you maintain an open dialogue, both for the sake of your personal relationship and for the future of the business itself. By scheduling future talks or get-togethers, you make clear that though your interests may have evolved, your relationship and belief in each other (and the business) remains strong.
Partnership breakups can be challenging and contentious, but they don’t have to be. You can improve your chances of preserving your relationship by bringing in professionals. For information on how our experienced attorneys can help, contact us today.