Building a business is a lot of hard work and having a business partner means that you don’t have to do all the work alone. However, there is always a risk that one day, your partnership may come to an end.
Stories of business partnerships becoming tense are not difficult to find. There are old stories from this article from the Harvard Business Review. There are new stories, such as the apocryphal story of a certain social media company’s rise. Talk to anyone who has owned or run a business; you may come across some tale of one partner taking advantage of another.
“I didn’t see it coming.”
If you worry that your business partnership is about to sour, it’s essential to consider the signs:
- Lack of communication
- “Missed” invites to important meetings
- An uneven workload
- Contrasting work styles
Even if the business is going well and the customers are happy, a partnership can sour. If you feel the tension mounting, it’s time to act.
How to defend yourself in a partnership dispute
First and foremost, getting the advice of an attorney experienced in business litigation will become invaluable. They will provide you with tailored, insightful advice on what you should do for your situation.
Before you speak to an attorney, you should start documenting the business:
- Your business assets
- Your client lists
- Your intellectual property
- Your business liabilities
You want to have documentation of what makes your business work, and you want to have an accounting of the time and effort you’ve put in to make it what it is. If your partner is looking to remove you, you must prepare to fight to hold on to what you have.
But it may not need to go that far
However, just because you and your partner may be in conflict doesn’t mean you will lose your stake or the business itself is doomed. With preparation and intervention, you may be able to save your business and protect all the hard work you’ve done.