Getting Rid of a Business Partner Doesn’t Mean They Were Always Worthless

Dud business partners have to go – that’s a fact of growing a successful business.

But that doesn’t mean they were always worthless.

Typically, a business starts with partners sharing duties equally, working well together and contributing successfully. Over time, things may change. One partner gets distracted, loses interest, motivation, etc. Or maybe personal problems come up clouding the person’s ability to work well. No matter the reason, one partner eventually stops pulling his/her weight and becomes a dud. (This isn’t a guarantee when working with partners, just an illustration of what can happen! Please don’t panic!)

So now you’ve got a dud partner. You need to get rid of that business partner. But you shouldn’t forget the value they once brought to the table. Keeping that past value in mind will help ease the process for both yourself and the partner you’re booting out.

No one can rest on past successes forever. But give credit where credit is due and it can make for a better strategy when it comes time to get rid of the business partner.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot (for many reasons.) What finally spurred this post on was my recommendation to the Jobloft guys that they should get rid of Dr. James Norrie, their ex-professor and business advisor. They openly state that Dr. Norrie has been a huge help, and they wouldn’t have gotten half as far without him. Great. That’s recognizing value that Dr. Norrie added, giving credit where credit’s due. But now he’s hurt JobLoft and his value is questionable.

Nothing lasts forever, including business partnerships. The JobLoft guys stuck with Dr. Norrie through the Dragons’ Den situation but looking into the future they should respectfully and appreciatively have him exit.

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November 24, 2006 Posted in Business by

  • Kummy

    Very true. When a partner loses their productivity, they are a drag on the business.

  • Kummy

    Very true. When a partner loses their productivity, they are a drag on the business.

  • mark

    how about when your partner owns the capital and you don't? You end up becoming your partner's employee.. Guess who does all the work. Live and learn lessons from the golden rule.. He who owns the gold makes the rules.

  • barb88

    Mark

    Do you have experience with the situation you described above? I am going through something very much like what you described..Could you tell me more….

  • barb88

    Mark

    Do you have experience with the situation you described above? I am going through something very much like what you described..Could you tell me more….

Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at GoInstant (acq. by Salesforce).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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