Much like a marriage, a business partnership may lead to a dispute. There’s a lot on the line when this happens. You need to sort it out so that the company can move forward. Time spent feeling hung up on the dispute can cost you in productivity, energy and revenue. In some cases, the dispute is so major that you and your partner will need to end the business relationship.
What to look for when things are changing
Clearly, this is not something that you planned when you agreed to work together, but it’s still a reality that you need to be wary of. Relationships change over time, and it can happen to anyone. To start, consider some of the signs that you may have a dispute in the future:
- Your values are not the same. Maybe you value doing everything you can to provide affordable services and to pay your employees a good wage. Your partner just values making as much money as possible. If you can’t find a balance, both views may not be able to coexist.
- Your goals are not the same. You should have a vision of what you want the company to be and what you want it to do. If it’s too different from your partner’s vision, you may reach a point where you cannot both accomplish those goals.
- You’re not getting the same thing from the company. Maybe you’re putting in twice as much work for the same money. Maybe you’re working the same amount of hours, but your partner is reaping more of the rewards. When things aren’t equal, it causes conflict.
- There’s a major lack of trust. When you ask them to do something, you don’t trust that they’ll actually do it. Or, perhaps you tell them about your values and goals and they act like they agree, but you don’t trust them to actually pursue those ends.
One thing is for certain: If a dispute happens, it can mark the end of the partnership and the end of the business. You need to know what legal options you have to resolve it and what steps to take if the two of you do decide to go your separate ways.