The beginning of a business partnership is often an exciting time, full of high hopes, fresh ideas, and, most importantly, good will. Why do business partners so often look back on this period and wonder where it all went wrong? By understanding the key causes of partnership disputes, entrepreneurs can become more alert for warning signs if they ever again find themselves in this position.
It may have seemed like you and your partner were on the same page when you began your business venture, but bumps in the road and unforeseen circumstances can create unworkable rifts in goals for the future.
One way to avoid such disagreements is to communicate openly and specifically about goals before launching your business. Would your goals change if your business became extremely profitable? What if you got sued? Would your goals still be aligned with your partner’s objectives? Explore these contingencies before launching and you can get a better idea if you’ll still be on the same page years down the road.
Divergent drive and ambition
It’s frustrating to give a business your all and find that your partner is not pulling his or her own weight. By thoroughly outlining responsibilities (and putting it in writing) before launching, you can avoid disagreements over who is supposed to do what. Even if this does not inspire your partner to match your level of ambition, it will at least give you the legal ground you need hold him or her to the agreement you established.
A disparity in dependence
In a good business partnership, both partners should be integral to the success of the operation. If you find that you don’t really need your partner to make a profitable business, it might be a better strategy to go it alone.
Some business partnerships succeed, of course, and we hope this is the case with yours. If you do find yourself in a legal dispute with your partner, however, it is important to start protecting your own interests even as they run counter to his or her interests.