A partnership can be one of the best ways to start a new business. Two or more people can pool their resources to make it easier to finance the new business. It also helps to have other people you can depend on to share some of the work.
Most business partnerships start off well enough. They usually come together because of a shared vision of success. In many cases, the partners are also friends or family members.
While the early days of a new partnership can go well, it is also common for many partnerships to fall apart. A lot can change through the years of working together. After some time, it can get to a point where one starts to consider whether they should leave the company, or their partner, behind.
For people starting to consider leaving a business partnership, the following are a few of the reasons why you may want to walk away from a company you helped build.
Toxic Work Culture
Having a work culture isn’t just for offices and other more traditional work settings. Even if you and your partner are working out of a garage, you have developed a work culture between you. If the work culture has turned toxic, it might be time to move on.
Consider your relationship with your partners when thinking about the culture of your workplace. Is there a lot of negativity? Do you both treat each other with respect? Are you both supportive and appreciative of the work the other does? Do your partners act professionally?
Spending Money with No Return
Investing time and money is a big part of starting a new business. For many, funding small businesses involves a lot of investing upfront with little to no return in the early stages. But you should always be sure you’re starting your business with a budget and a plan to turn a profit eventually.
If it seems like you keep pouring money into the business while taking on debt with no return on investment, it is time to consider some changes. Have a meeting with your partners to see if you can turn things around. If there seems to be no answer, it might be time to cut your losses.
You Hear “No” to Everything
Maybe you worked well together in the beginning and you both had equal input. However, as the relationship evolved, it got to a point where your partner never wanted to listen to or consider any of your ideas.
If you get a “no” every time you suggest an idea or feel resistance any time you try to give input, you are in an unhealthy partnership. This not only quiets your voice in guiding the company, but it can also stifle your growth as a professional.
Partners Taking Over Your Role
Even if you do not have formal titles at your company, most partnerships have people in different roles. Over time, one partner might start to take over parts of the role of another partner. When this happens, it can cause unnecessary friction.
The best way to avoid this is to have a conversation about your roles when you start the partnership. If your partner still ends up infringing on your role at the company, you need to talk about it. Be respectful and professional, but remind your partner of the roles you both agreed to. If that doesn’t work, it might be time to move on.
Your Partner Isn’t Pulling Their Weight
A successful small business relies on the drive of the people at the top. Your company can’t reach its full potential if one partner is not pulling his or her weight. If your partner is leaving most of the work to you, you need to find a way to get them to do their fair share.
Before you assume your partner is doing nothing while you do everything, evaluate the work that goes into keeping the company going. Track the time you put into different tasks and compare that to the contributions of your partner. If you find that you are taking on an unreasonable amount of the workload, it is time to have a conversation with your partner.
It’s Affecting Your Quality of Life
A bad partnership can have a significant impact on your life away from work. You might find that you are not sleeping as well or that you are not managing stress as effectively as you used to. You might even start having health problems that stem from things like a lack of sleep or stress.
You only get one life, so there is no reason to waste it in a bad business partnership. If you start to notice a diminishing quality of life that correlates to your business partnership, it is time to consider a change.
Leaving a business partnership is a serious decision. Remember, some problems can be fixed without leaving the company. Take the time to evaluate the issue, see if there is a solution, and decide whether it is even worth fixing.