Business Partnership Advisor
Together, we can fix your business and partnership problems
Chris Reich, Business Luminary
I Cannot Talk to My Business Partner
“Chris, I’m under so much stress. I can’t even talk to my business partner. We can’t even be in the same room. I hate coming to the office. What can I do?”
When Business Partners Can’t Talk to Each Other
Unfortunately, we tend to wait until the situation gets very bad before we reach out for help. I understand. I had a tooth that was bothering me and I let it go until it was too late to do much about it. There was a lot of pain involved over many months because I didn’t want to deal with it or spend the money.
But this isn’t a lecture on procrastination. I firmly believe in dealing with situations where they are rather than where they could have been. If the tension in your business partnership is rising, the sooner you act to correct things, the easier, cheaper, and better the outcome.
What to do when business partners cannot talk to each other.
Chris Reich can help your business partnership get back on track.
Get a Mediator
When a business partnership gets so tense that partners can no longer talk to each other, it’s best to get someone in the middle to facilitate communication.
I understand the stress you feel and I get the need to watch spending, but paying a good business mediator will save a lot of money in the long run. If the business is valuable or carrying a lot of debt, partnership tension could lead to a need to get lawyers involved. That gets expensive and the outcome is always uncertain.
My first step is to talk to all the partners. I don’t charge anything for my first conversation with every partner. That’s important to get things off to a neutral and fair start. Being able to freely express frustrations always brings the tension down. Once I have a handle on the issues, I can offer general solutions to the partners. You can tune my suggestions to suit your needs. Discussing solutions opens communication and starts the process of reconciliation.
The Business Is Your Baby
I always act to protect the business. After all, that’s the goose laying those golden eggs. If the business does well, you do well. My 30 years of business consulting is guaranteed to help improve your business. As we get conversations started, we can work on the company which further reduces the tension that rises when the issues are personal. As the business improves, we can openly talk through the issues that caused the fracture. Sound like a long process? We always see improvement within 2 weeks of starting. The cost is less than a couple of calls with a lawyer! And, frankly, no lawyer ever improved a business. It’s not their job.
What to Do Now?
If things are getting very bad between you and your business partner, reach out to me. The call is free and I guarantee you will feel better after we talk.
Do not start a process of offer/counter-offer. When this starts, it always escalates to a complete break. The best thing is to stop talking with your partner until you get proper advice. If the situation is pushed too far, it might become impossible to repair.
We Can’t Even Be in the Same Room Together. Can That Be Fixed?
Yes. If we get started before the red line is crossed, yes. Once somebody says, “I’m done. I can’t work with her anymore,” we’ll have to negotiate a separation. If we open talks before things break completely, we can fix even the most stressful situations.
There Is No Shame in Getting Help
Many calls start with words like, “things aren’t really bad between us but we don’t want them to get there.” I love those calls because they always work out. Don’t feel bad. You haven’t failed. Business partnerships are very hard. Once things get so bad that people can’t be in the same room, it’s harder and costlier to fix because it takes more time to work it out.
Is there tension in your business partnership? Deal with it now and the chance of a successful outcome is far better than if you wait another month.
“Don’t let the relationship with your business partner get so bad that the only solution is to break the partnership.”
When the business partnership breaks down, the darker sides of the personalities come through. A dominant partner turns into a bully. A person who does not do well with conflict will withdraw. As the bully gets more aggressive, the pacifist withdraws further. Eventually, the bully gets so angry they are ready to lock the other partner out. The pacifist quits coming in. The next blowout is over money. The course is as logically predictable as what will happen to your car if you hit the highway with no oil in the engine. It will get louder and louder until the engine seizes.
I recommend that partners talk through a specific issue and then draft an agreement (called a resolution) that sets a policy. You can keep this in a binder to serve as amendments (or foundation) to your Partnership Agreement. In this post I’ll explain how to talk about things that bug you with your partner and how to draft a binding resolution to fix the problems.
Unless you are in some sort of political business, you should keep politics out of your establishment completely. Of course, you have freedom of speech, but we are in very contentious times and displays of political or religious positions might be off-putting to to your customers.