If you aren’t sure it’s time to end your business venture, I wrote another post that can help you out: 6 Signs It’s Time to Cut Business Ties.
First off, I’m not an advocate for ending business relationships if they can, and should be salvaged. But I also know first hand what it’s like to drag and partnership on and on that should have been ended earlier. It’s no fun for anyone.
So you have decided to end the business partnership, what do you do now?
Again, this post is not legal advice, I talk more from the standpoint of enabling the business owner to be causative in their situation and managing the relationship side of it with their partner.
Making the Decision
All of the reasons you look at ending the venture are solvable…but there is the question of should it be. I will usually look at the option of ending the venture once I have exhausted all options of trying to salvage it. But at the same time, I will not drag it on and on and on and on and on when it should be ended.
My view is that I am building an empire, I just want to rule the world 🙂 (not in some weird dictator way, just want to build big businesses and really create a positive impact in the world). I am not going to do this if I have someone as a partner than creates a non-ideal work relationship, in either direction me to them or them to me.
The Bad News
This can be one of the most difficult, uncomfortable and terrible conversations to have in your life. You do need to realize that you will have to face this situation without trying to avoid or coming up with excuses for you or letting your partner do it either.
The Good News
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be nasty. I have had to end a few business relationships in my life and am actually in good communication with all of the past partners I had. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t end if it I can’t be best buds afterwards, but I was able to work it out so it was a win-win and then there was nothing nasty to hang onto.
The reality is that you not stuck in any position or condition in life at all. You have the choice and ability to change it. There are 3 ways I have seen this get resolved. I’m sure this is not all of them, just some ideas.
1. In spotting what you were doing that created some rub, or with communication and structure being implemented, getting your partner to turn around and you both get on the same page. If that doesn’t resolve it, don’t let it drag and on and on (I’ve done that and it’s no fun).
2. You work out a way to buy out the other person. This can be up front (usually for a smaller amount) or over time (I will do a bigger amount in that situation but it’s paid out over years). Don’t personally guarantee the buy out, that way if something bad happens with the company they can’t come after you personally.
3. Maybe it makes sense to reduce their ownership, so you get more ownership if you are really doing a majority of work or bring a lot more to the table. This can be a way they can stay on as an owner, but even things out so they feel more fair.
4. Work out a way they can buy you out (personally I wouldn’t want an over time buy out as I want a clean cut). This is fine if you want to walk away from the business and do something else.
5. Dissolve the company. You can work out with them dissolving the company. This does take some working out issues, what do you do with clients, etc.
6. Walk away and start your own thing. This can be the right solution in some cases, but most of the time one of the other above is better.
In any situation, I definitely have my attorney review the situation so I am setting it up in a way that doesn’t cause future issues.
Making it Easier
In any conversation I try to refrain from anything that could come across as making the other person wrong. I don’t make less of them, their ability or who they are as a person. Doesn’t matter how frustrated or mad I am, it never gets you anywhere. Just look at the situation you have in front of you.
Most of the time it just boils down to you and the person aren’t aligned and so that can be an easy way to communicate it. If it’s not the right fit in business this is actually true and doesn’t make anyone wrong in the situation.
Honestly it doesn’t resolve anything to beat someone down or make them wrong, because most of the time it’s not true anyways. So stick to the truth (it’s not a right fit and don’t get into hashing up nasty details and you will find it’s a much smoother process).
Having chaos at the top of the organizational structure can create a really uncomfortable, depressing situation for you, your partner, staff and clients.
Either resolve it so it is an ideal fit or change the situation to a way that is an ideal fit. Sometimes this means cutting ties.
Do this in a way that you aren’t making the other person wrong and you will find you have a much smoother process.
Have a great day and time to take it up to a whole new level!