Looking back on when you first started your business can be both an emotional and sobering experience. You may have been ten, maybe even twenty years younger than you are now – and in retrospect, very naïve and optimistic! Seeing how far you have come since then can be pretty impressive, especially if you have come the whole way with your business partner by your side. Many people choose to start up a company with another person – someone who is on the same wavelength as them and who shares the same goals. Usually, this is an old friend, or maybe a colleague you clicked with at your very first job. It could even be your romantic partner. But the somber part of looking back at your company’s origins can occur when you and your business partner have fallen out. It is bad enough being locked in a regular dispute with someone you care about. Being involved in a business dispute with an ex-partner and now, ex-friend can be even more challenging. In this scenario, this business is a little bit like your baby, and you and your former partner both want custody of it. If you’re willing to engage in the battle, you will almost certainly have a testing time ahead of you – here’s how you can deal with the process.
Don’t do anything in the heat of the moment
Emotions can run high during times of conflict, and this scenario is no exception. Avoid speaking to or messaging your ex-partner whenever you are upset or angry – or even worse, drunk. This will only seek to further increase the divide between you, and it could even come back to bite you in a court of law. If you do need to let off some steam, go for a run or to your local gym, or rant to a trusted friend who is not involved. Sometimes, it can simply be beneficial to let it all out.
Seek professional help
If the relationship breakdown has come about because of a legal issue, you may need to attend court to save your business. In a criminal case, you will be required to go to trial in a traditional courtroom, complete with judge, courtroom scribe, and in some cases, a jury. If the matter is not criminal but still requires help from the law, you and your ex-partner could hire a mediator to help you sort out your differences in a civil sense.
Take some time out
If it was only ever just the two of you running the business, and therefore you have no employees to take into account, consider temporarily closing the business while you work through your differences. You may both need some time to think, and by being in each other’s faces all the time at work, things may only get more heated. Finish up any deals you have and make sure you have enough money in the bank to see you through a couple of weeks at least. Once the dust has settled, you may be able to return to your partner and the two of you can talk things through in a mature manner.