My business partner is driving me crazy - I always and constantly have negative thoughts about him. How do I resolve this?
posted by ChabonJabon to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A guy who was my best friend for a year became my business partner. We started an online venture together, and I did the programming and he did the extra work - i.e, daily research and labelling of items. We did this for a few months. The venture did not take off too well, and then he basically stopped working. At this point, he would always draw up plans on how this site should look like, and we would argue about this, because I told him that these designs were too complicated and I could not do this. He always complained at the time that I would always shoot down his ideas, but we went along.
After he basically stopped work, I slogged on alone for a further 6 months. The site still did not take off, and we let it just sit there, occassionally discussing what to do with it. We remained friends.
Then we got an offer: someone randomly offered to by the site for about $20.000. I accepted the offer, and informed my friend. We split the money - and this is where the trouble started. After I sent him the money, all that was on my mind was that he did not deserve the money. I had worked for close to a year on the project, the name, ideas were all mine - the things he did could have been done by anyone.
I came up with a new idea for a new project, and I contacted him again, being basically the only person who I had available to work with. We started off again, and we created a reference site to test the market. It worked fine, and then we let the business idle for about 4 months. Then I created the second reference site, and the business slowly started taking off. I did all the programming, and we would discuss the strategy. We argued a lot at this point, he would always hark back to the topic that I kept on overriding him.
He would constantly come up with ideas on how things should be. His ideas were never based off numbers or analytics or anything - his ideas would completely be based off instinct. I.e, he would have an idea and want to test it, even if the numbers say no. His success rate was not good - sometimes it would work, most times not.
After about a month, I brought in someone new. Another old friend of mine lost his job, and wanted in. After I brought in this new guy, things changed - between me and the new guy, the productivity more than quadrupled - we both work very hard, and we don't spend a lot of time discussing things. Rather, I say what should be done, the new guy either goes ahead and does it, or he disagrees and explains why. Whenever the new guy disagrees, I tend to follow it, because it usually means this is important.
After the new guy was in, my resentment for the old partner increased. He is the worst in the team - he does the least work, when me and the new guy work weekends, he does not, he argues a lot with me and resents it when I take a leadership role, because he does not want to be under me. At some point, we needed to raise money, both me and the new guy were able to get money from family, he could not get any. The person who he tried to get money from, it turned out he had previously borrowed money from the person and never paid the money back.
Currently, the old partner is trying to reduce his workload, even though he is already doing the least. He speaks of certain commitments he has to do every week (studying), and that the venture is sucking up all his time.
Furthermore, when we sit together in an office (we don't usually do so), the old partner is very disruptive - he always talks to the environment while working and constantly tries to engage in conversation with others. This is terrible for work.
Also, to highlight the difference in productivity between the two partners, let me give an example:
They both had the same tasks to complete within a month. The new partner finished his tasks in 15 days. By the 20th day, the old partner had done 1/3 of his tasks, and had started trying to claim that 1 of his tasks was equivalent to two tasks, because it was complex. Never mind that the other partner had completed two of exactly the same tasks in this period.
Thats one side of the story. The other side of the story:
- This guy acts as a counter-weight to me. I sometimes make stupid decisions, and having someone like this around balances my opinion
- The new partner does everything I ask with hardly any questions
- When it comes to calling and talking to people, the old partner is the best among us threee
- This old partner has come up with some really good ideas that have made good money, the new partner so far has not. The new partner is not a creative type, he is a steady work horse. I am creative, as is the old partner
- I am a very angry person. I am rude, commanding and I micromanage peoples work
- I get annoyed quickly and I tend to obsess for long periods of time over peoples faults (like in this situation)
- I always want to change stuff - the old partner does not like to change stuff, giving us a measure of stability
The question is now - what do I do? It is going to destroy my friendship with this guy if I break up this partnership. It may even destroy the business. Also, if this guy goes, the entire business will become a mono-culture, i.e, all ideas will be mostly from me, and there will be a total lack of new ideas.
The point is that we are all supposed to own 30% of the business, but we have not signed contracts yet. Things can still be reorganised. I would like to keep the old partner in the business, but I am not prepared to give him 30% of something that I am spending so much time working on, and where he is so lazy.
How do I resolve this problem - it's eating me up inside, I just keep obsessing over and over again on the same topic, and cannot come up with a good solution. What would it be?