When It's Time to End a Business Partnership

It often takes more than the blood, sweat, and tears of a single entrepreneur to build a successful small business. We often need help, partners whose skills and/or bank accounts that complement our own. But like most relationships, business partnerships change over time and some have an expiration date. So how do you know when you’ve hit yours? Let’s look at a few signs it’s time to end a partnership and move on.

Your Goals Have Diverged

When you originally laid down your goals for the partnership, you were aligned and rowing in the same direction. Now, you both seem to be working on different projects with a different sense of what’s really important. Disagreement is normal and healthy, but if your efforts to get on the same page have failed, it’s a sign that you’re no longer compatible partners.

You Don’t Trust Each Other

Trust is the foundation of any relationship. When there’s trust, there’s harmony and your business can flourish. When there isn’t trust, you both spend more time checking up on the other and questioning their motives than actually working on the business. So before mistrust deals the final death blow to your growing enterprise, dissolve your partnership and salvage what you can to continue.

You Can’t Clearly Define Your Roles

Partners should complement each other so roles naturally evolve. But a sure sign it’s time to end the relationship is when you don’t know where your sandbox starts and where theirs ends. This isn’t to say that there isn’t overlap, but without clear roles and responsibilities, you’re setting yourself up for disastrous conflict that will misalign resources and starve your business.

One is Doing More than The Other

Often, the result of not having clearly defined roles and responsibilities is that one party feels like they are doing more than the other. This might be a perception that can be effectively fixed by setting up those roles. But when taken too far or too long, perception will become a reality and one partner will end up resenting the business altogether, making for a toxic relationship and failing business. If you can’t fix this real or perceived problem by defining roles and responsibilities, then it’s time to part ways.

Things change and businesses grow meaning that over time, it needs new blood and leadership to keep it alive. Dissolving a partnership is tough, but it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s simply just a part of the business life.

By Andrew Patricio

March 12, 2018