A business partnership can be very much like a marriage. You’ll have disagreements, but hopefully you’ll work well together and build something good. Unfortunately, though, like marriages, sometimes partnerships don’t work out and when that happens, you’ll have to call an end to things. Here are a few things you can do to end a bad business partnership gracefully.
Prepare in Advance
From the start, you should prepare for the possibility that things might not work out. Check your paperwork and note any verbiage that addresses how the end of the partnership will be handled. If you didn’t have this wording, draw up a document with a buyout offer to your business partner. If things haven’t been going well for a while, chances are your partner will be relieved to be out of the partnership with the money to move forward.
Weigh All the Options
When things aren’t working out with your business partner, completely firing the person may not be the only option. You may find that simply bringing in a counselor or mediator to help you work through your differences can help. If the situation can’t be resolved, though, you may consider keeping your partner on as a consultant or advisor. Obviously, that person brings something of value to your business, and if you show that input is still valued, you could find a way to part amicably.
Keep It Professional
Things can tend to get personal when a business partnership breaks up. No matter what happens, make sure you remain professional at all times. Resist the urge to engage if things get heated and never engage when you’re angry or emotional. Instead, take time to cool down and then address whatever matters need to be discussed.
Use a Mediator
Whether or not you choose mediation to avoid a breakup, one can come in handy as you work to settle matters. If you have a trusted advisor or board member, you could have that person sit in on negotiations and help keep things on track. For best results, though, consider an attorney or professional mediator. These professionals are well-versed in the legalities of partnership disputes and can help you resolve everything without devolving into the emotions of the split.
If things don’t work out with a business partner, you can split things up and move forward. The key is to keep things professional and enlist help if you need it. Ideally, you’ll be able to part ways while still remaining on good terms for the foreseeable future.