Dissolving a Partnership: How to Tell It is Time to Say Goodbye
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Building a successful business is much easier when you have help. That’s why some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in history started out by working with business partners. You’re more likely to stay motivated when you have someone to hold you accountable, handle essential tasks you don’t have the bandwidth for, and compensate for any qualities you may be lacking (and vice versa).

That’s not to say business partnerships remain beneficial forever. You may reach a time when you’re better off ending the partnership and moving on to other projects.

Not sure if you’re at that stage? Keep these warning signs in mind:

DISHONESTY
You obviously don’t want to work with a business partner who lies to you. However, direct lies aren’t the only form of deceit. A business partner who doesn’t share useful information is also dishonest.

Maintaining such a partnership could land you in trouble if you’re not careful. For instance, perhaps your business partner is using the funding for your small business for unauthorized personal purchases. As one of the business owners, you may be considered somewhat responsible for their actions, even if you didn’t know about them.

IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
Taking calculated risks is important in business. However, there’s taking risks, and there’s behaving irresponsibly.

For instance, a calculated risk might involve evaluating your capacity and deciding to accept an ambitious project. While completing it successfully may be difficult, if a business partner carefully analyzes relevant factors with your cooperation, this may be a risk worth taking.

Irresponsibility, however, would involve a partner accepting a project you don’t have the capacity for without consulting you first. If they’re making too many major, potentially risky decisions without your help, it’s time to reconsider your partnership.

APATHY
Businesses are more likely to succeed when the people behind them are passionate about what they do. Although it can be difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you face challenges, remaining passionate is key to overcoming those hurdles.

That means both you and your partner have to stay enthusiastic. If they are apathetic, and no longer seem committed to growing the business, you might have to go your separate ways.

Apathy can take many forms. Maybe your partner used to arrive to work energized, but now they seem indifferent. Perhaps they no longer put in anything more than the bare minimum effort. Maybe they used to actively pursue clients, but now they wait for clients to contact you.

Don’t assume these are definitely signs of apathy. This is something you need to discuss with your partner before deciding not to work with them any longer. It’s possible they are struggling with a personal issue that is making it difficult for them to care about the business to the same degree they once did. In these instances, you may be able to help.

However, if they remain apathetic for a long period of time, they might have simply lost interest in the company’s goals. Don’t let their presence drag you down. Both of you will likely be happier if you end the partnership.

STUBBORNNESS
It’s very important that a business partner be willing to challenge you. For instance, consider this example: one co-founder has great ideas but doesn’t consider executing them, while another’s ideas are lacking, but they are more willing to take action on them.

Alone, both may struggle to succeed. Working as a team, they can challenge one another to grow and consider ideas they hadn’t thought of, which is obviously valuable in a business relationship.

However, challenging you isn’t the same as refusing to listen. You need to work with someone who can accept outside opinions and compromise when necessary.

Sticking with a stubborn business partner prevents you from realizing your own potential. While it is important to listen to a reasonable partner, if they are never willing to listen to you, they aren’t being reasonable, and they certainly aren’t letting you bring your own ideas to life. This can discourage you in the long run. Avoid this by putting a stop to a business relationship in which one partner is no longer willing to compromise.

DIFFERENT VALUES
A business should be built on a vision. You need to have goals and values to reach your full potential. Additionally, your partner needs to share your goals, otherwise you’ll pull the business in different directions.

Perhaps you want to eventually reach a stage where you can only serve clients who you behave represent your principles. On the other hand, your partner’s goal may be simply to serve the highest-paying clients, even if their values don’t match yours. As your business grows, you’ll pursue one direction for it, with your partner moving in another, preventing your business from growing in general.

Pay attention to this aspect of your relationship. It’s okay to move on to other projects if your partnership is no longer allowing either one of you to embody your values. Calling off the partnership doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your goals completely. It just means you’re breaking free of something that was preventing you from attaining them.