What to Do When the Sizzle in Your Business Partnership Starts to Fizzle

When the "thrill is gone" in a partnership, it can seem like an uphill battle between those involved in the business relationship. Perhaps you are experiencing this in your current partnership. If so, you may be wondering what legal steps you can take to ensure that you and others with a vested interest in the business are protected. The following suggestions can aid you in better understanding your options when a partnership disagreement occurs. 

Direct Approach

Take a moment to consider whether or not you have actually let your partner(s) know that some of their actions are causing you to feel uncomfortable. Perhaps you have casually mentioned things that you disagree with, but  a direct approach involves you actually asking them to set aside time to discuss your differences. 

If your partner has a strong personality, you can prepare for a direct meeting in advance by writing down the things that are causing you to feel uncomfortable about your business arrangement. Perhaps you and your partner have briefly discussed differences in the past. If so, think carefully about what you need to address at the time of this approach because if things are not resolved this time an escalation is likely. 


If you and others involved in the partership are unable to resolve your differences in-house, it may be appropriate to escalate your disagreement by obtaining mediation services. Mediators or attorneys can represent each person in a partnership. They can identify what is important to the people they represent and try to come up with solutions that are agreeable to all parties. The mediation process may involve making several amendments to current business practices to ensure that all parties agree. For example, a partner may refuse to use portions of their profits to grow a business. Other partners may propose to offer a "buy-out," which may dissolve the business interests of the partner that is against business expansion. Services like Caldwell Kennedy & Porter can offer an un-biased opinion of what your next step could be. 


Mediation is a legal process that involves less litigation than lawsuits. When mediators are unable to reach agreements, the only option left may be for parties in a partnership to take their case to court. This approach is usually used as a last resort. If a judge rules that the business partnership does not have to be dissolved, then you run the risk of having to continue doing business with a partner who may be disgruntled about the legal action you took against them. This is why a business lawyer is the best resource to use when there are problems among members of a partnership.