Partnerships

5 Signs That You Need to Split From Your Partner

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Here’s the story: You’ve got a great new business idea that was devised with your best friend or favorite co-worker and you’re ready to quit your day job to have a go at entrepreneurship. You’ve collectively agreed that a 50-50 partnership is the right move and you’re both equally and clearly committed to the common goal of world domination via your new venture.

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever started a business with a partner, it should, or at least some iteration of it should, because most co-founded startups follow some version of this plan. The good news is that it can, and regularly does, work. The bad news is that if it doesn’t work, it’s highly likely to be the result of a bad business partnership, as opposed to a bad business or idea.

Related: Before You Bring a Co-Founder on Board, Ask These 5 Questions

The difficulty, just like hiring a new employee, is that it’s hard to identify these issues until you’re in action and knee deep in executing on the business. So, while there are dozens of reasons that you need a partner, there are an equal number of reasons that you and your partner might not be a good fit.

Let's take a look at the top five reasons you two -- or three -- need to part ways, sooner than later.

1. Differences in communication

We’ve been hearing tales of the importance of proper communication since we were kids, or at least it seems that way -- probably due to the huge number of books written and college degrees given on the topic.  The reality is, there are very different styles of communication and if you’re not clearly on the same page from the start, you will fail.

2. Can't do what they said they could

Yes, this can happen maliciously but I don’t believe that it often does. More than likely, one partner seriously believed that he or she was capable of executing on some responsibility that time proves they’re just not. When this happens, you’ll have a lack of balance, which breeds resentment and, ultimately, the demise of the partnership and possibly the company.

Related: Before You Form a Partnership, Make Sure Your Bases Are Covered

3. Misaligned work ethics

This one is pretty straightforward but exceptionally important. If one partner works 70 hours per week and the other works 40, you’re going to have problems that are not unlike those mentioned in the previous point.

4. Too much ego

This one is typically a bit easier to identify in advance of starting a new business but is important to note. If your partner thinks they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, they’re not. Humility is one of the most important mentalities in a startup, which if you don’t already have, you will when you’re awake at 2 in the morning struggling to keep your company afloat.

5. Skill sets are too similar

Now, unlike the previous four points, here you’re just too alike. When this happens, you lack the needed diversity in thought processes that are extremely important when dealing with the decision-making that can make or break your fledgling company. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t partner with your clone or stunt double. If you already have, it’s time to make some serious decisions that might include bringing in a non-cloned third partner to balance things out, or even a healthy breakup.

All of these aforementioned issues exist in everyday partnerships and the only real way to deal with them is as they happen. Do not put them off or assume that they will improve on their own over time -- they won’t. If it’s bad now, it will only get worse, so do yourself and your partner a favor and be proactive in addressing these issues or simply agree to disagree and part ways.

Related: 13 Tips to Create the Perfect Partnership