Can you spot a bad business partner?

A business is only as strong as the people who run it. If you get a bad business partner, it can absolutely run your promising young company into the ground.

It's important to see this coming before you get there. You may have some options to end the business relationship, depending on your ownership percentages, your roles with the company, the contract you signed when you started working together and a host of other factors.

But it all begins with the understanding that your business partner is bad for your company, your career and your future. What red flags should you look for?

1. You would never spend time with them outside of work.

You don't have to be best friends. A lot of people are better coworkers than friends, and that's fine. However, if you feel so adversely about them that you never want to see them, ask yourself why. Do they treat you poorly? Do you not trust them? The reason you would not be friends with them may be a red flag that you shouldn't work with them, either.

2. They don't take the business seriously.

For them, it's all fun and games. You want to succeed and grow; they just want to have a good time. This can lead to a situation where you do all of the work and they start spending fewer and fewer hours in the office. It's clear that they have other priorities. You need someone who works as hard as you do.

3. They don't use money wisely.

Someone who blows through all of your funding on unnecessary purchases and events is someone who could quickly bankrupt your company. They have to understand money management, or they at least have to defer to someone who does. Disagreements about money end a lot of marriages, and they can end business relationships just as quickly.

4. You don't like how they treat the employees.

You need employees who are loyal and dedicated. You will never get that company culture if you talk down to them and take advantage of them. If your business partner is unpleasant to be around and treats other people badly, it could slowly pull the company apart and push the talented employees that you need into other jobs.

What now?

So, you have decided that you do have a bad business partner, and you want to end it. What do you do now? Be warned: This can get complicated. People's jobs are on the line, not to mention their vision and a lot of money. It is crucial that you know what legal options you have and exactly how you should proceed.

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