The Deal Maker

When Your Business Partner Isn't Playing by the Rules

Posted by Emilee Boyle Gehling on Jun 29, 2017 8:41:09 AM

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Remember your playground days? I’m sure you can think of one kid who always wanted to play games with you but never followed the rules. Unfortunately, if you have a business partner who isn’t playing by the rules, things may get more complicated than they did on the playground. But contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have to suffer through a bad business partnership. Here are three ways you can address your business partner’s behavior.

  1. Evaluate, Discuss, and Create

First, review any documents which pertain to you and your business partner’s relationship. Do you have each partner’s responsibilities laid out in writing? Identify those responsibilities which your business partner isn’t fulfilling. Don’t forget to self-reflect as well – are there things you can do better? Then meet with your business partner to discuss your findings. Together, create a business improvement plan that clearly delegates tasks to each of you. Try to keep the focus on the success of the business during the entirety of the discussion.

  1. Contact People “Outside” of the Partnership

Just as bickering spouses may hire a marriage counselor, you and your business partner may want to consider getting an outsider’s perspective on your partnership. An attorney can help you review your partnership agreement, or a business negotiator can help you productively discuss your concerns. Remember, it’s important that you both see this consultant as unbiased.

  1. Know When to Let Go

Some things just can’t be fixed. If you and your partner have tried to make the partnership work but have had little success, it may be time to cut your losses and leave the partnership. You will have to decide on an exit strategy -- whether that means you will divide the business, sell the business to a third party, sell your shares to your partner, or another option. An attorney can help you decide the best way to move forward.

A peer who won’t play by the rules is frustrating whether you are a kid on the playground or a partner in a business. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer through a bad business partnership. Follow these three steps to address the problem, and contact a Sioux City attorney, an Omaha lawyer or a Sioux Falls attorney to answer any further questions you may have!

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Topics: Deal Maker on Your Side