Mixing your business and personal lives can get messy, and running a company with someone you know involves a number of unique challenges. If things aren’t going as you initially expected, it may be time to start thinking about cutting ties with your business partner.

With so many moving parts in a business, especially a relatively new one, it’s imperative your professional relationships are functioning well. If not, even the most important of tasks – like securing a funding plan for your business – can wind up being overlooked.

Leaving a business can always be an incredibly difficult decision to make, even without the added considerations involved when you’re working with someone you know. These are some of the most common red flags indicating that things are going wrong.

They’re no longer interested

Entrepreneurs typically have sky-high expectations when they’re starting out, but the reality of being responsible for a business can end up wearing people down. Startups often require long hours and taking on additional challenges, and this lifestyle doesn’t come easily to everyone.

If your partner isn’t taking on as many hours or responsibilities as you expected, you may need to separate your business partnership from your personal relationship. Regardless of your personal ties, you should be working with someone who is willing and able to put in an equal effort.

They’re not being transparent

Openness and honesty are just as important in a business partnership as they are in any relationship, and any time you sense secrets or dishonesty is a red flag. This is especially important when you’re running a company together, as it’s crucial to maintain trust at all times.

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An untruthful business partner may simply be behind on their responsibilities, but they could also be hiding something more serious like embezzlement, insider trading, or tax fraud. Make sure to talk to your partner any time you suspect that things aren’t as they seem.

They’re not acting responsibly

Each member of your company has a responsibility to maintain and represent your brand image, and a single problem can cause a plethora of difficulties for your business. Reckless behavior comes in a wide range of forms, including substance abuse, gambling addiction, and much more.

If you think there’s any chance you can help your partner put things together again, you owe it to yourself to have an honest conversation about your working relationship. Let them know what your expectations are and explain that you are ready to move on if they won’t cooperate.

They have different values

Shared goals are the basis of any healthy partnership, but they don’t always last for as long as you hoped. Whether you have creative differences or separate visions of how the company should grow, it’s important to get back on the same page as soon as possible.

Businesses of all sizes need everyone to work together, and this is especially important for startups who need to make important decisions about the future. If you let yourselves drift apart for too long, the conflict may end up jeopardizing both your personal and business relationships.

It can be just as difficult to break up with your business partner as it is with a romantic one, but sometimes you need to acknowledge the truth and simply move on. Any of the items on this list could indicate that the best days with your business partner are behind you.


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