When you’re fresh out of college or want to work for yourself, starting a business and partnering up with someone is the exciting way to go. Going into business with someone can feel very similar to falling in love. Everything seems beyond fantastic, you’re elated with joy and nothing seems impossible. A business relationship isn’t dating though; it’s a totally different relationship, but with comparable similarities. If you feel you started a business relationship with the wrong person, here are some warning signs that you should take into consideration before going out on your own.
1. Your Values Aren’t Matching Up
In the beginning you laid out your values but you’ve since realized that your partner’s values have shifted. You find that your partner is pushing aside the core values that you initially agreed upon. It’s time to rethink the partnership if you feel your core values are being compromised in the business. There is a risk when your core values are ignored, the entire vision of the company could fall apart.
2. You Common Goals are No Longer Common
Another warning sign for a partnership break-up is when you find yourself veering off the path aimed towards common goals. For example, say you went into business with your partner agreeing to start small and grow at a steady pace. One day you find your partner talking erratically about going too big too fast. If your partner starts to steer your business in a new direction and is changing your goals, there is a risk that your values will be affected as well.
3. Your Partner is Cracking Under the Stress
Starting anew business challenges every individual’s stress level. Everyone handles stress differently and if your partner starts to crack under the pressure, you may want to rethink your future involvement in the project. I’m not saying give up on the person who is feeling a little discouraged; a pep talk might snap them out of it. Be aware of constant fluctuating emotions that add more stress to the venture and impede the progress of your business. Being able to handle stress and keep things in perspective is critical for a long term partnership.
4. Work Ethic Goes Haywire
Your partner is either spending too much time on the business and is getting in the way of your work/life balance or your partner doesn’t pull their own weight. Either way it’s not good. There needs to be a balance for designated time spent on projects and effort put into the business. If you feel your partner is running themselves and you into the ground, then you should definitely confront those issues. Likewise, if you feel you are doing more work and caring a heavier load, then you should bring it up with your partner. If communication doesn’t resolve after troubleshooting these issues, it may be time to move on.
5. Emotions Run Deep
The old saying goes that you shouldn’t go into business with family or friends. That’s not always the case though. It’s recommended that you go into a partnership with someone you like. I agree that you should go into business with someone you know and trust, but you never quite know how the experience will affect your friendship. If you feel that your friendship has changed during your business project and you value your friendship, you will want to take a step back and analyze the situation. After you reassess your situation and find yourself in an unhealthy partnership and want to save your friendship, you may want to consider parting ways. It’s better to save the friendship now, learn and grow, and save the friendship.
Not all partnerships are meant to last, and if anything, you can look at the experience as a learning lesson. Be sure to research and understand what to look for next time before you get involved in another business partnership.
Taylor Miller is a contributor to the finance blog at National Funding and regularly writes about small business loans, equipment leasing and merchant account services. Contact National Funding today to get your business started.
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