Business partner dispute
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

10 Signs a Partner Disagreement is Close

Unless you are the sole proprietor of your business, you will likely run into complications with your business partner(s) at some point. Because you and your partners each own a piece of the business, these disagreements may also lead to legal issues. Having an experienced attorney to help you prepare the business for these situations can help you protect yourself and your business.

Signs of partner disagreement

Here are some of the most common warning symptoms of an impending partner disagreement that you need to watch out for:

1. Office Absences

If your partner hasn’t been in the office lately and it isn’t due to traveling for your business, this could be a sign that they are looking for other opportunities. Take the time to check in with your partners to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

2. Lack of Documentation

If you are missing recent financial statements, it could be a sign that things aren’t going well for your business and your partner doesn’t want you to know just yet. As an owner, you have the right to see all financial statements, so be sure to push as hard as you need to in order to get them.

3. Customer Complaints

Customer complaints could signify an issue with your products or services, or they could also be indicative of internal turmoil in your business, particularly if it is service-oriented. Investigate further to identify the underlying reason for the complaints.

4. High Employee Turnover

Employees suddenly jumping ship can indicate deeper problems. If you are providing pay and benefits on par with your competitors, you may need to look for other internal reasons for the high turnover.

5. Commitment Doubts

At times, you may notice that one or more of your partners aren’t pulling their weight in terms of managing your business. If their commitment seems to be waning, you could be due for a partner disagreement.

6. Low Sales

Similarly to experiencing more frequent customer complaints, a sudden drop in sales could signal trouble for your organization. If the problem isn’t with your products themselves, it could likely be due to an imminent partner disagreement shaking things up internally.

7. More Criticism

If your partner is suddenly far more critical of your work than usual, it could be a sign that they are thinking of restructuring the company without you. If the quality of your work hasn’t changed, be cautious.

8. Undefined Job Roles

A poor definition of each other’s roles can often lead to a partner disagreement, especially if one partner is doing more work than the others. Take the time to clearly identify each partner’s job role so that the workload is balanced.

9. Feeling of “Too Good to Be True”

If things seem to be going a bit too well, it may be that your partners are hiding something negative from you. To keep a partner disagreement from occurring, conduct frequent partner meetings to ensure everyone knows what is going on at all times.

10. Sudden Surge in Business

Of course, rapid growth is a positive thing for your business, but you may encounter a partner disagreement as to how to proceed with growing the business going forward. Aim to have a plan in place before this happens so that everyone knows what to do.

If you are concerned that a partner disagreement may be on the horizon for your organization, reach out to the team at Ogborne Law right away. We can help you protect your stake in the business while also doing what is best for the company overall. There’s no way to avoid every partner disagreement, but you can prepare yourself to weather the coming storm.