Starting a business is an exciting process for most people. It is also an easier journey to take if you can recruit other co-founders or partners to join through the ups and downs of a business’s life cycle.
Unfortunately, many business partnerships end up splitting over time. This may not be either partner’s fault, but simply the result of the business growing to a point that it makes sense to move on from an existing partnership relationship.
During the startup phase, it is difficult to predict what each partner’s roles and responsibilities will evolve into as the business grows. Mot businesses pivot and take longer to get off the ground than originally thought.
As a result, it is normal for one or more businesses partners to start to lose the fire they had when the businesses originally started.
How to Get Rid of a Business Partner?
The best way to get rid of a business partner is to do it early! If you know the relationship is not going to work, it is only going to get more expensive for you as time goes on.
Additionally, it will stall the business from growing when there is a partnership rift. Be direct and have a conversation based on facts and data and try and eliminate emotion from the conversation to come up with an amicable split for both parties.
6 Things to think about when trying to figure out how to get rid of a business partner
1. Is there an operating agreement in place?
An operating agreement should layout the process of buying out a business partner clearly if it was professionally written. If there is an agreement in place, evaluate the agreement and determine if the buyout arrangement makes sense financially.
2. Do you have a personal relationship with your partner?
If the partner is a friend of yours, the best way to approach getting rid of them as a business partner is to do it in a casual manner. If you approach a partner in a threatening way, it is going to make things more expensive for you when it comes to negotiating a potential buyout.
3. Evaluate the business structure
50/50 business partnerships can be the most complex relationships to dissolve. If neither partner budges, the business can be at an impasse, and risks going under if an agreement can’t be made.
If there are more than 2 partners, evaluate if it makes sense to join together with the other partners and see if they are having similar concerns with the partner you are interested in moving on from. If they do, it may be easier to approach the partner that you are both having issues with.
4. Be prepared for adversity
Odds are a business partner is not going to take the news that you are interested in exploring how to get rid of them as a business partner well. Be very strategic about how to bring up the conversation and be prepared for an emotional response.
5. Consider selling up the business
If your business partner is not open to leaving the business, one option is for you to ask for a buyout for your shares. It may be best to move on rather than stay involved in a business relationship that you feel is not optimal.
Business partnerships are like marriages and if both partners aren’t pulling in the same direction there could be major negative effects on results. Getting bought out and starting a new venture on your own could be one the best things you can do for your future!
6. Provide Suggestions to Improve the Relationship
While you may think figuring out how to get rid of a business partner may be best for you and the business, sometimes tough love can motivate the slacker partner to get into gear and improve your relationship.
If you are doing the majority of the work, document the efforts you put in and break down the time you put in on paper for your partner. When partners are confronted with facts in a nonemotional way, it may elicit a turnaround in their behavior or it may prove to them that leaving the business is best for all partners.
Figuring out how to get rid of a business partner is never an easy thing to do. Follow the steps mentioned above prior to bringing up the topic with your partner. The last thing you want is to get into an emotional confrontation. That will only create a higher premium that you will end up paying toward a disgruntled partner.
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