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What do you do when you discover your business partner is not right for you?

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • May 12, 2014


Sometimes you go into business with someone and after a couple months/years you realise you’ve made a mistake. He’s a crook, or lazy or simply doesn’t share your values.


Time for divorce. How?


The simplest option is to abandon ship. Start again and be more careful choosing a partner. This entails leaving behind all your effort, contacts and money (its unlikely you’ll be bought out at fair value if the relationship has soured).


Maybe you’ve invested too much money, time and effort to simply opt-out. Maybe you want him to leave. That will only happen if he feels he can make it on his own and if you can agree on a price. These are very big “if’s”, especially if he is a crook or lazy. He’ll never abandon your ship because he knows he’ll starve on his own.


It’s like mediocre employees. The stars are always happy to leave when they don’t like the way a company is going.  Not even guaranteed nuclear disaster can rid you of the slackers.


The person who keeps the business is the person who wants it more. Your desire is driven by passion or fear. Passion drives the guy who built it. Fears drives the because he has no other options. Fear trumps passion as a motivator.


It gets even more complicated when you have staff that have come a long way. It’s like getting divorced and not only fighting over who keeps the house, but also over who gets the kids.


One of the best analogies can be found in the bible.


Two women, Reva and Ari approached King Solomon for judgment. They both claimed motherhood of the same baby. After hearing their arguments, his solution was to cut the baby down the middle and give half to each woman. Ari immediately cried, “No! Rather give Reva the baby.” Solomon knew then who the real mother was and ruled that Ari was to get the baby.


You’ll need to decide whether you love your business enough to leave quietly and save it from a damaging fight.


Sadly, there probably won’t be a King Solomon to save the day (and your baby).