An all too common scenario: two good friends go into business together. They create a company, the split the costs, and they excitedly work out what they are going to sell, how they are going to price their product and who is going to take responsibility for the various tasks — all good.

Until something goes wrong.

In the enthusiasm of starting the business, it feels like nothing could ever go wrong. There is no consideration for the exit strategy; there is no dispute resolution process planned.

So they struggle on because there is no process to deal with problems. But resentment builds and builds.  One person feels that the other person has mistreated them; one person thinks that they are contributing more than the other person, that they are being taken advantage of and their friendship wanes, and they start talking about the other person behind their back. They start avoiding the other person.

They are no longer friends. They are business partners; resentful business partners who feel stuck in a business they now regret.

What to do?

Remember what brought you together in the first place. You are friends; you like each other. So treat the other person as though you care about them.

Ask them what they want. Ask them what they need. Listen to them.

Stop telling them off and looking for all the bad things you see them doing. Get curious about what is going on for them.

Think about how you might have contributed to the issues.

And if you struggle with having that conversation get someone independent to help you have that conversation.

Don’t go on and on hating each other and hating your business.

Take action. Do something. Have a difficult conversation.

Love them. Reconnect. Talk.

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