Don’t Get Burned by Your Business Partner

Here’s a Valentine’s Day business tip for all the business partnerships out there, especially if you LOVE your business!

An entrepreneurial relationship can go sideways FAST if one partner begins to scrutinize another’s activity in their respective roles. It happens believe it or not. People change, goals and dreams change and how one approaches their profession, their job, their business can change due to a myriad of reasons such as:

1. An entrepreneur may feel they have “arrived” and they want to slow down a bit.

2. One learns and knows how to effectively delegate in order to scale the business.

3. They want to transition in order to finally honor their passion, their “calling”.

Contributions to the venture can be overlooked by a partner(s) when resentment sets in by another. If reasonable, kind, compassionate communication fails, resentment can creep in faster and most insidiously.

Hiring an outside consultant could be beneficial. However, vet that consultant vigorously. Check their background and their experience with managing businesses and business partnerships. You do not want to find out too late that they have no idea how to navigate a difficult situation.

Equally and most importantly, the following must be considered. You will want to consult with your business attorney on this.

1. Draft an operating agreement that specifically outlines duties of each partner.
2. Review the role and duties of each partner at least once per year.
3. Document the file with minutes of the meeting.

When an agreement / document is referenced on a regular basis, issues can be addressed before they get unruly and people get ornery. Memories fade and/or get distorted to match a current perspective.

In this age, where narcissism and borderline personality are a true epidemic (and perhaps incurable), victims can stay stuck in bad habits out of fear and confusion of bad behavior. This is no way to live a happy life. We all deserve to be happy and to seek a way to be happy when something feels off.

You don’t have to be an “Outsource Junkie” like myself, but research on how you can continually improve how your partnership can soar to the heights of what you envisioned when you got into business with your partner(s) in the first place.

The Deal Closes When It Closes

Trevor worked many years ago with a top producing loan officer at a mortgage Bank. This top-producer brought in a lot of business and Trevor was the new kid on the block climbing the ladder, building his business. In his travels, Trevor met a local real estate attorney who could potentially refer business. Trevor had been working with that attorney on a home purchase transaction. The attorney said, “Oh, no, that’s where you work? I’ll never do business with your company because so-and-so is a nightmare and your company is a nightmare.” That other top-producing loan officer had a terrible reputation. This loan officer had a bad habit of not responding to anybody’s phone calls inquiring asking, “What’s going on with the deal? When is it closing?”  He simply did not answer phone calls. This was in the days before email, the days of beepers and telephones and he simply did not respond to anyone. The attorney told Trevor, “I beep this guy all the time, he never calls me back. I guess your company is just slow to get things done that’s why he doesn’t respond. Why should I expect you’d be any different?” So when Trevor confronted his fellow loan officer about this complaint, his response was very laid back.  He said, “I have one philosophy. The deal closes when it closes.” WOW. He made Trevor and the entire company look bad. On the positive side of the story, he kind of wasn’t wrong because there is a process to getting a loan approved and closed. The fact that he was a terrible communicator is a different issue entirely; he never spent any time communicating to manage expectations. We did a video on managing expectations, emphasizing follow up. Sometimes the timeline to close can really be a bit much, and especially with how many people are involved in the loan process. We’re working now on a business acquisition deal, and the sellers were involved. They just could not get their head around what was needed, even after the loan was approved, and they knew the Lender was going to do this deal. Their responses to requests for documents through the entire process were, “Why this? Why that?”  Week after week, all they did was push back. The Seller’s  attitude was constantly to fight the process.  Then, when they’d actually submit a document at 10 a.m. in the morning, they’d follow up by sending an email at 1:30 in the afternoon, “So when are we closing?” This is not really understanding the loan process either. So, to take that “top-producer-bad-communicator’s” phrase and reconfigure it,  “The deal closes when it closes.” There is a real process to achieving the loan approval and getting to the closing. As  long as all parties are communicating and cooperating, it will close in a reasonable time, but it doesn’t mean it’s closing in 10 minutes.  Communication and cooperation, those are key elements. For our part, we maintain clear communications. As often as this particular seller was impatient, we still kept a clear head and kept our communications positive, responded accordingly.  Ultimately, we got what we wanted from the seller in the way of documents we needed. We did another video describing how the lender reviews everything. If you spend so much time asking, “Why?” And spending so much energy fighting the process when you could have gotten what was needed to expedite the process. With this particular seller it was constantly “When are we closing?” and, “Where’s my money?” We understand how financial professionals can get jaded. Someone like the former colleague in the industry can say to themselves, “Okay, I’m kind of exhausted with these calls.”  And they shut down because they know the deal will close when it closes. People can get upset about the process, but when all is said and done, if there’s clear communication, you have to understand the process and you have to be patient.

Who Has Time to Micro-Manage?

Control.  It’s all about control.  Or is it about trust?

For control, we mean it in a neutral way, neither positive nor negative. Because, depending on the entrepreneur and/or business owner, the definition of control changes.

Many of us have worked in environments where you’re micro-managed. We understand it, but we don’t have to like it.

Whether it’s the boss’ issue with control from a positive perspective (wanting the business to succeed) or a negative perspective (lack of trust by the boss), the question more and more people are asking is, “why can’t you teach me what I need to do…or train me…or trust me…and then, leave me alone?

It’s also about trust. The more trust you have in someone, the more you’re likely to delegate and let people do their job so you can do your’s.

How do you know if you’re micro-managing?

We’d love to hear your feedback after you read this excellent article we found on INC.COM about micro-managing.

Please email us your feedback at

CLICK HERE for the link to the article.


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