It took a lot of time and effort to get your business where it is today, and you chose your business partners with an eye toward what they could bring to the table and how well you complement each other.
Lately, however, you’ve started to sense that one of your partners is unhappy with either the work, the business itself or your agreement. Should you be worried? Maybe. Here are some of the signals that a business partnership is about to go bust:
There’s a notable lack of communication
You can’t work together if you can’t communicate well. If your partner seems to be unusually taciturn, they may be purposefully trying not to reveal their true feelings or intentions.
Your values have shifted apart
A business is a bit like a vehicle with more than one steering wheel: All of the partners have to steer in the same direction if they want to see forward motion. If your business partner’s values or ideals have undergone a major shift (and that does happen), you may no longer be suitable for each other.
You suspect that they’ve started a new project
You’ve always admired your business partner’s creativity, but you think maybe they’ve gotten bored or restless with the current project and are running a “side gig” they don’t want to discuss. If your partner is disappearing a lot, isn’t available to take calls and seems preoccupied with other tasks, they may be getting ready to leave and launch a new business.
They’re suddenly focused on their grievances
Disputes happen – even in the best of relationships – but if your business partner is holding a grudge against you or your other partners, that’s going to make cooperation and communication even more difficult. A lack of mutual respect or open contempt from a disgruntled partner can kill any working relationship.
If any of these situations ring true in your mind, it’s probably wise to pull out your partnership agreement and review its terms so that you understand exactly what legal options you have if your business relationship ends badly.