The right business partner can help create chemistry where the sum is greater than the individual partners involved. Ideally, it leads to a long, fruitful relationship as everyone works towards a common goal with an equal commitment. As with any relationship, business or otherwise, things can change over time, and the chemistry becomes stale, or partners find themselves moving in different directions. Things no longer work the way they once did, even if the business is still on a firm footing.
Look for these red flags
Every partnership has its phases, but here are some telltale signs that its time for a change:
- Lack of interest: Some people’s interests will flag over time. It’s natural for some to be interested in new challenges rather than maintaining established formulas for success. Or, it could also be a matter of complacency where they are not motivated to keep pushing the rock up a hill.
- Not pulling their weight: Lack of interest can be disheartening, but a partner who does not pull their weight can lead to a growing sense of frustration and resentment. It can even be as essential as they no longer fulfill the obligations and responsibilities outlined in the partnership agreement. It can be incredibly stressful if the business suffers.
- Different styles: Partners may have different approaches. It can be complementary and lead to success. Still, it can also mean different priorities and ways of doing things that can ultimately frustrate one or more partners.
Honest discussions can initiate change or highlight differences
A partner can initiate a discussion to get to the bottom of the issue and ideally find a way to reinvigorate the partnership with new projects and fresh ideas. However, these discussions may highlight intractable disagreements. It may be time for a change. It can involve finding a new partner, selling the business, closing up shop, and moving on to the next chapter.
Taking the next step
Ideally, partners can refer to partnership documents and their buy-sell agreement to get guidance on how to best proceed with a clean break. It is also an excellent time to discuss options with an experienced business law attorney who can handle partnership disputes, restructuring, dissolving the business, or the sale of the company.