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Top 3 Reasons for Partnerships Breaking Down in Business

Top 3 Reasons for Partnerships Breaking Down in Business

1. Clashing Vision

Problem: Partners often don’t voice their vision for the business beyond simply making money.  People usually go into business together for financial reasons but end up spent because their values, goals and dreams are fundamentally misaligned. If one partner is in the business with passion, and the other solely for a potential financial gain, one is more likely to call it quits when the going gets tough.

Solution: Hold a workshop with all of the partners to discuss this very point. Why is everyone in the business? What does success look and feel like for each partner? It’s essential to share and then define the “mothership” vision for the business as this really is the bedrock of potential success.

2. Risk and Fear 

Problem: Some people have risk as their default position; others are overly cautious and prefer stagnation to change. Most successful partnerships are a combination of the two – but if decision making is becoming a constant undisciplined tug-of-war, the business won’t get anywhere. Conservatism is not the enemy of business but neither should it stifle all risk.

Solution: Discuss, agree, plan and execute strategy. Discuss where you want the business to go and accept that there may be more than one way to get there. Begin having workshops firstly to open up dialogue and then agree on a plan and a timeline for execution. A workshop is a great environment to voice both ambitions and associated concerns for the direction of the business.

3. The Ego Maniac/Control Freak/Power Hungry Lunatic

Problem: Some people just don’t play very well in the sandpit. We all have ego and insecurities. Being in business is inherently stressful and a certain amount of such behaviour is just humans being humans – but what happens if it spirals out of control and threatens the business?

Solution: The best resolution is to delegate tasks and responsibilities to each position within the business, then agree on measurable outcomes. It is important to agree on the business’ hierarchy to prevent one person from wreaking havoc. Even in the situation of equal ownership you can establish a board structure to which every party is accountable. This separates power and implements a structure for objective and constructive communication.

–Original article by Matt Murphy (