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 certain similarities. If you feel you started a business relationship with the wrong person, here are five signs and tips you should take into consideration before deciding whether or not to go out on your own.
- Your Values Aren’t Matching Up
In the beginning you and your partner laid out your shared values, but you’ve since realized that your partner’s values have shifted. You find your partner is pushing aside the core values 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.
- You Common Goals are No Longer Common
Another warning sign for an inevitable partnership breakup is when you find the business is veering off the path aimed toward your common goals. For example, say you went into business with your partner agreeing to start small and grow at a steady pace, and 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 your values will be affected as well.
- Your Partner Is Cracking Under the Stress
Starting a new business challenges every individual’s stress level. Everyone handles stress differently, but 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, however, of constant fluctuating emotions that add unneeded 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.
- 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 is notpullinghis/her 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 himself/herself and you into the ground, then you should definitely confront those issues. Likewise, if you feel you are doing more work and carrying a heavier load, then you should bring this up to your partner. If communication and troubleshooting don’t resolve these issues, it may be time to move on.
- Emotions Run Deep
It’s recommended you go into a partnership with someone you like, but as the old saying goes: you shouldn’t go into business with family or friends. Though that’s not always the case,and I agree you should go into business with someone you know and trust, you never quite know how the experience will affect a friendship.
If you feel your friendship has changed during your business project, and you value your friendship, you should take a step back and analyze the situation. After reassessment, if you find yourself in an unhealthy partnership, you may want to consider parting ways. It’s better to learn and grow and save the friendship now.
Not all partnerships are meant to last, and, if anything, you can look at the experience as a life lesson. Be sure to research and understand what to look for in a partner the next time 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.
Photo credit: CC by Steve Jurvetson