Like most things in business ownership, maintaining a strong relationship between the founding team can be tough going. Whilst lots of people succeed, the relationship can sometimes become fraught, with research suggesting that many don’t make it.
More than 70% would never co-found a business again
The research was conducted by venture capitalist Fuel Ventures, examining business co-founder relationships. It revealed that 43% of company founders end up buying their partner out due to rifts and power struggles.
The most common reason to part ways (71%), was due to disagreements over the direction of the company. A smaller 18% said it was down to unreciprocated beliefs and values. It seems that working together in a professional capacity could be useful before founding a business together.
Nearly all of the 3,000 UK co-founders surveyed said that their rift was a result of ‘a single specific disagreement’ following a period of unsettlement amongst the founding team. When money is at stake, it does put the pressure on even the best relationships.
How to keep your business relationship harmonious
Despite the negative statistics, joint venture remains a popular route.
More than half (57%) said they felt more confident having someone to run their business with. It seems a shame to lose that support if falling out can be avoided.
Work on your business plan as a team
Start as you mean to go on. You’ve invested emotionally – and maybe even financially – in this idea together. Make sure your business plan, investment pitches, and marketing and management strategies are a joint effort. It encourages mutual participation, and gives everyone a chance to hash things out before things can fester.
Don’t bottle up your feelings
Keeping negative feelings to yourself will only be damaging for everyone involved further down the line. If you’re uncomfortable with something, say it. You have a responsibility to the business, and it’s healthier for you and your business partner to have an open relationship.
Evaluate and regroup regularly
Plans can change in the blink of an eye. As a business owner, it’s something you will adapt to very quickly. That’s why it’s so crucially important to get your heads together on a regular basis to check you’re still on the same page, and fend off any developing negativity.
Consider enlisting a silent partner
A silent partner or third party is basically the management team’s mediator. They should be someone neutral, but experienced enough to help you both stay on track. It’s not about giving them final say, but having someone who will keep your eyes open to what really matters.