Should you always try to stay in business together?

Business Leader Post, June 21, 2012

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

No! I have seen a lot of successful businesses in which the family members or partners who are struggling with their differences, whether they are business or personal, hang in there because an alternative does not seem reasonable or possible. The combination of financial issues and the emotional energy it will take to deal with them feels overwhelming. It has been my experience, however, that there is always “life “after the separation, and usually that life is significantly more pleasant.

Most people can figure out a way to rationalize maintaining their business relationship.

Sample thoughts:

“I have managed for years, and while it’s uncomfortable, it could be worse.”

“Where else can I go and make the same amount of money?”

“This person is so difficult and impossible to talk to about simple things that I’m afraid of his/her reaction to the topic of a possible separation. He/she could make the situation ten times worse.”

Everybody in this type of situation has their own mantra for staying. This is the problem: Those situations do not get any better by themselves, and, in fact, they generally get worse. The people around you (read support system) do not want to listen to it anymore. It can affect your health and your relationships with others. Every day you do not deal with it, it is a blow against your self-esteem. Frequently, an outside event will force the issue; and the chaos created (including law suits) will be far worse than anything you have previously endured.

Bring the issue to a head while you are still in control. Seek outside consultation for help. It is very similar to a divorce. The “joke” about divorce is: Why is divorce is so expensive. Answer: Because it is worth it.