Business owners usually start with a sense of unbridled optimism. They may even neglect to make a partnership agreement because they assume they’ll always get along.
But there are almost inevitably disputes at some point. Why does this happen and what can you do about these disputes?
You have different management strategies
One potential problem is when business owners have “misaligned management philosophies.” It could be as simple as company culture. You want employees to feel relaxed, like they can enjoy their job, assuming they’ll be more productive if they’re happy. Your business partner wants them to be as busy as possible at all times to increase productivity. This isn’t to say one of you is right and the other one is wrong, but if you both believe the opposite tactic is the best way to go, it’s hard to work together.
You don’t agree on your roles
Another reason for a dispute could be that you disagree on the roles that you both have within the company. You both may want to be the creative force or lead the development team, for instance. If you believe the other person is infringing on your job constantly, that creates a lot of friction.
You don’t trust each other
In some cases, business partners start not to trust each other. Maybe you’re worried that your partner has been embezzling from the company. Perhaps you think they’re considering leaving and taking their intellectual property with them. If you can’t trust each other, disputes are going to be common.
You have different goals
A fourth reason for disputes is when you just have different goals for the company itself. You may feel like you’re trying to steer the ship one way and your partner is working against you. It’s fine to have different ideas, but your overall goals have to align.
There are disputes over pay
Finally, financial issues often cause partnership disputes. Maybe you work at the business full-time and your partner is only there part-time. They believe they deserve equal compensation to you, but you do not. Any time that the two of you can’t agree on how to use the earnings from the company or how to set up your own salaries, it can cause a dispute that may lead to the end of the partnership.
If you get into a partnership dispute, it can be very detrimental to your company and your career, not to mention your investment, so take the time to look into your legal options.