There are plenty of bad business partners out there and they happen to come in all shapes and sizes. If you are worried about whether your business partner is ruining your organisation - this is the article for you.
It doesn’t matter what kind of industry you are in, bad business partners are everywhere. For example, when I used to work as a handy-man, I had a partner that was responsible for all our products. He would order things like traditional timber oil and paint. But after a few years I realised that he had worked out his own deal with a supplier. The deal was as follows: he would order large amounts of Interior furniture stain and get a cheaper price - so he could keep the balance for himself! Talk about a sneaky set-up.
Bad business partners can be anything from outright liars to complainers and those who are reluctant to communicate. It is usually really obvious that they are a bad business partner, however, other times you may not even realise that they are slowly draining the company of both energy and profit. If there are no concrete problems (such as fights), it can be hard to notice that you have a bad business relationship.
Here are a few signs that you have a business partner that will destroy your business.
They are not solution oriented
If your business partner loves to bring problems but never has any solutions, then it can be a sign of a bad partner. It's normal for people to have the need to vent, but if your partner seems to do it all the time (and you have passed on positive thinking plenty of times to no avail) then you may need to find another partner.
Your partner has financial skeletons
We have all made bad financial decisions at one point or another - that doesn’t necessarily make anyone a bad business partner. It might, however, if there is a long history of poor credit, if the partner has been banned from running a company before or if they have had more than one bankruptcy. They should be willing to be honest with you about their history, but if you find out later that they haven’t been, this can indicate you are working with someone who is not honest.
You don’t need to have the same values to work well together. But sometimes it can be good to have different perspectives - like the yin and yang style partnership. Communications need to be open, and you need to ensure that you understand your partner's communications style. You should agree on two things: one is finances and the type of work that you are willing to take on. If you are disagreeing over things like bonuses or expenses, or if your partner is focused on one thing only (such as profit), then it can definitely be a doomed partnership. Having a shared vision is important to achieve your vision. If you are too far apart on certain issues, and neither are happy to budge, then it may be time to go your separate ways.
Your partner won’t sign a partnership agreement
Partnership agreements can give you a roadmap of your partnership and they can be useful when dealing with a bad business partner. It will map out the partners’ roles and an exit strategy, should the partnership go sour. If they are not happy to sign an agreement, then it can indicate they are either hiding something, or they already want to get out of the business. Worst case, this means they are not serious about the partnership. If they won’t sign an agreement, don’t mess around and give you excuses. Instead, move on to a better business partner.
Are you doing all the work?
If you both have equal skills, but the work ethic is not equal, that should be considered a big red flag. Your partner doesn’t need to be a full-on workaholic however, the work needs to be shared equally among the two. If your partner is sitting at their desk browsing Facebook while you are serving customers, then it is time to say goodbye to this work partner.
There are plenty of business partners out there and it doesn’t need to be someone you know. Ensure you learn to spot these red flags, so you can find out sooner rather than later if your partner is a poor collaborator.