Partnerships are incredibly common in business, and it’s easy to see why. Rather than having to navigate this often-confusing world for yourself, you have someone at your side; someone to bounce ideas off, to help share the workload, and to help make your business dreams a reality. If you have a partner, you likely found their input invaluable in the first few years of the business.
Over time, however, business partnerships can become stressed. What worked so well for a company in its early years doesn’t make sense anymore. The workload is naturally shared through the staff you have accrued, and you are more confident in your own business abilities.
It’s at this point that the idea of leaving your partnership becomes tempting, especially if your relationship with your business partner has deteriorated. You may be tempted to try and buy them out; or to leave and start afresh, learning how to start a Limited company in your own right. Whichever you choose, there’s no denying that it’s a huge leap– but it might be the right one for you.
How can you know if breaking your partnership would be the right choice for you? Simple; if any of the below situations ring true, then it may be time to move on.
#1 – Your Arguments Are Becoming More Frequent
The occasional arguments between business partners are inevitable; it’s impossible to find a partner who is always going to be on the same page as you.
However, these arguments can become so frequent that you and your partner are barely even working anymore. If you argue about everything, even small details, then it’s a sign that you have fundamentally different ideas about how the business should proceed. Rather than continue to try and paper over the cracks, it might be safer to break away.
#2 – Your Partner Stifles Your Ideas
You have new, exciting ideas about how you’re going to progress to the next level– but your partner keeps refusing them. It’s one thing for your partner to listen to your ideas and then say they are not feasible (ideally with evidence), but it’s quite another to be roundly dismissed out of hand.
You and your partner have to be able to resolve these differences of opinion while still ensuring that you both feel heard; that your opinions are valid even if they are not actionable. If you feel that you’re being stifled for no good reason, then branching out on your own — starting a new company if needs be — might be your best option.
#3 – You’re Doing More Work
A partnership should be equal, with all responsibilities and workloads divided. If this is not the case, or you are continually finding yourself having to cover for your business partner, then this is a bad sign. It shows that your partnership has unraveled; that there is a mismatch in your focus on the work.
You should not be responsible for picking up the slack of your business partner on a continual basis. Sure, you can help them out if they’re going through a rough patch, but don’t allow the issue to become chronic. Ultimately, they will still receive a 50 percent share of earnings despite doing less than 50 percent of the work– you’re selling yourself short if you stick with a partner who isn’t pulling their weight.
There’s no doubt that breaking a business partnership is a tough process. However, if you recognize any of the signs above, it might be time for you to contemplate doing just that.