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  • #966988
    kjd
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    • Total posts: 16
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    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Keith & I am about to start a business. I’m 25 and the business is going to start off as a hobby business with the dream that it will become a full time proposition. I’m glad I found this site it seems like a great resource.

    Now to my BIG (to me) problem.
    I originally had the idea to start a content website supported by advertising. Me being me decided that it would be great to include my best friend to build it up with me as an equal partner. We have started the site and it is going well and are now in the process of getting a partnership agreement drawn up and registering the ABN before we start to take on advertisers.

    The problem is that before we have even signed the partnership agreement, we have some problems. Problems that I don’t think can be fixed. First off I have done all the web design and set up, the majority of the blog posts and basically 95% of all the work in the site. To put it into numbers I have posted 54 things on the blog portion of our site and my soon-to-be business partner has posted 4.
    I approached him about this in an email and told him my concerns.
    To which he said that it was because I just went forward and did things without his consultation (He works night shift full time and I try calling him when I know he is up.) The reason I started doing this is because of a perceived lack of interest on his part and I just wanted to get things done.
    So we resolved this to a point where I was cautiously happy about it and started to move ahead with the official parts of the business.
    I started to contact him to consult with him on things like how conversations went with potential sponsors, whenever there was a decision that needed to be made or to discuss the future directions of our business.
    He is sometimes hard to reach so I’d try calling a few times.
    We had to record a podcast the other day and I sent him a message saying “What time do you want to record” to which he did not reply. I then said “So we will be recording the podcast some time this afternoon then?”
    To which he replied: “Around 3 pm *expletive* me stop stressing over it”
    Anyway this degenerated to the point where he called me a needy little b*tch and told me “you don’t need to call me 4 times a day, or msg me to tell me you wiped your a**”.
    The only reason why I call him is to tell him about the business and what is going on with it.
    He is my dearest friend and I don’t want to lose him as a best mate. At this stage though I do not want to carry on and sign the partnership agreement as I don’t think he is pulling his weight and if he is like this before we start I feel I’m just going to get further into this biting my tongue until it all explodes and I lose my best mate and the business.
    As a side note very little if anything has been spent in this business.

    I am after your advice on what I should do at this point. This business has been taking up all my free time for months now and I am passionate about it. I feel he wants to do it but he isn’t as passionate about it as I am.
    Please help. What should I do?

    Thanks for listening.

    #1022448
    Jake@EmroyPrint
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,117
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    Hi KJ,

    First of all, welcome to the forums!

    I’ve been in business with family before … So I know it’s not easy and we had similar problems to what you faced.

    Our main problem (and it sounds like yours too) was that we didn’t have clearly defined roles. Each task was open to anyone completing it and there was no individual accountability when something wasn’t completed.

    I’d just having a chat with him about drawing up some concrete guidelines for tasks you are both responsible for and if he’s not interested, look at dropping him as a partner.

    #1022449
    Tracey Anne
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    I agree with Emroy. Maybe the two of you could sit down and do an informal ‘skills audit’ for lack of a better term. It could be as simple as three columns on a piece of paper (the task, your name, his name). List every known process you need to cover for your business to work and negotiate which of you has the better knowledge/skills to perform each of these jobs. If there’s something you’re equally capable of doing, it might be a simple matter of who is more interested in, or would enjoy, or simply have the most spare time to devote to it. If you get bogged down and can’t agree on a particular item, put it aside and come back to it at the end. There may be some things too that NEED to be a joint effort, but at least they’ll be clearly identified and agreed to.

    If what you end up with is one of you with a way longer list than the other, then I think that might be a good indicator that a partnership might not work out (unless the one with the short list is prepared to stump up more money to balance it out)? Further if there are some things you simply can’t agree on and are never likely to, that might be a big red flag for you both to think about before you sign anything.

    The list wouldn’t have to be something you stick with forever, but might help to give you a sense of whether the two of you can really be equal partners.

    Good luck with it. I think you’re very sensible to be trying to address these problems now before you’re any further into it.

    #1022450
    kjd
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    • Total posts: 16
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    Thanks Guys,

    I just don’t think its ever going to be truly 50/50 and we won’t settle for less than half of the partnership.

    At this stage, with the behaviour he has shown I do not want to continue the partnership with him but of course I want to keep him as a mate. How do I do that?
    Some people make great friends but horrible business partners I have learned.

    #1022451
    Burgo
    Participant
    • Total posts: 2,104
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    I like what Jake has said, but now I am going to give you an alternative….DUMP your partnership before it even gets going …DONT sign anything….and take it over as it seems to be your baby and go with it take it to where it should be and enjoy every moment of doing what YOU want to do.

    You dont need this so called partner….GO FOR GOLD

    #1022452
    James Millar
    Participant
    • Total posts: 1,739
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    Agreed Burgo – the “partnership” as you have described it is going nowhere.

    There seems to be a fundamental difference in effort, enthusiasm and energy going into this business and in my experience that is hard to rectify. More clearly defined roles will help but it sounds like there is a difference in attitude and that is often impossible to change. You can’t teach motivation and drive – you’ve got it or you don’t.

    Find a partner(s) thats as enthusiastic as you (and preferrably not a family member or friend) and move forward.

    All the best with it.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1022453
    Jake@EmroyPrint
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    You know whats funny, I’m just listening to an audio book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (I’m sure we’ve all read it, this is my 47th time and I’m still learning new things from it!) but it just recently (12 or so minutes ago) covered on a topic similar to this.

    Perhaps consider planting the idea in his, subtly. Then, once he brings it up in full light and makes the suggestion go along with it. This way, it seems like his idea, that he’s backing out not that your trying to get rid of him. He keeps his ego in tact, you keep your friendship in tact. Just don’t go gloating if you make a load of money.

    kjd84, post: 26460 wrote:
    Some people make great friends but horrible business partners I have learned.
    If I had a dollar for every time I heard that… Doing the quick math I’d have around $9
    #1022454
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    Hi Keith

    Firstly congratulations on having the guts to pursue a dream. Secondly I commend you on having the common sense to want to tackle this issue early.

    Unfortunately Keith I do not think that you and your mate are destined to be in business together. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t remain friends.

    There has been a lot of good advice here about how you could go about defining areas of responsibility etc. When two people have the same vision and goals for the business this is a great way to clarify partnership role and to formalize a partnership agreement.

    In this case though I don’t think that this will help.

    but it sounds like there is a difference in attitude and that is often impossible to change. You can’t teach motivation and drive – you’ve got it or you don’t.

    Find a partner(s) thats as enthusiastic as you (and preferrably not a family member or friend) and move forward.

    I agree with James. Your mate is obviously not as passionate about this as you. For him it will always be just a ‘job’. If he hasn’t got the discipline and determination at this early stage, it is unlikely that he will ever have it.

    I would just sit down with him and tell him that although you are mates you think that your working styles are very different and that for the sake of the friendship, you no longer wish to be going into business with him.

    One more thing Keith. It sounds like you have passion, drive, intelligence and ambition. Do you really need a partner.

    #1022455
    kjd
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    Thank you all for the advice. What you are saying echo’s what I am feeling I should do.

    Karen,

    I don’t think I need a partner any more, I knew I didn’t, I just wanted to include my best mate in something that I thought would at least pay for our hobby and maybe one day become a career.

    Problem is that I know I put in more work and am prepared to do more than he is. If he saw this thread he would say a million reasons why I was wrong and why I am a needy b*tch and that I just constantly hassle him about the website. I don’t feel that he will ever just agree with what I am saying and step away.
    I am living and breathing this thing, he isn’t but I don’t know how to tackle this and still salvage the friendship.
    I feel that if I walked away from the partnership and gave him what I had already done up until this point would be unfair on me but I don’t think he’d take it anywhere himself if I did.
    I have thought of just saying I will not do this and starting something up under a different name but it just doesn’t seem that I should have to do this. I know him well and by him walking away it would be like saying he lost or he was wrong and they are two things he never admits to.
    I am very torn and lost with this all.
    At the moment, I have just kept the ball rolling forward and are doing things without discussion. My thoughts are at the moment is to just leave him be and see what he does on his own without me hassling him. If he hasn’t done anything within 4 weeks I am going to register the business name under my sole-tradership’s ABN and remove his admin privileges from the site.
    Do you guys think that is an appropriate course of action? If he does nothing when I don’t hassle him surely that spells out a very clear message?

    Thanks for listening to my ramblings and offering advice. I won’t be leaving this forum in a hurry that’s for sure.

    #1022456
    Dardee
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    • Total posts: 430
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    I would be upfront about it. Just tell him straight up, its not working, I want out, here’s your share of any income earned (give him 50%) and I’m taking over from here. If he doesn’t like it then take everything you have done off the site and go and set up your own with the same contant which is basically all yours anyway.

    You need to do this now. Sort it out once and for all. Unfortunately, I have been in the same situation and left it for ages before I did anything about it. The business suffered as a result and when it was discussed he was more than happy, actually releaved, to get out. Chances are though that you won’t have a friend at the end of it. You may still talk but you won’t be as close as you were before.

    Be honest and true to yourself. Its the only way you will feel comfortable to go forward.

    #1022457
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    Hi again Keith

    I agree with Dardee. As uncomfortable as it might be it will only get worse the longer you leave it. Whilst you are thinking about this it is taking your mind away from your business. You are not as focused as you would normally be as your mind is elsewhere.

    Dardee is right. Be true to yourself. If you don’t it is only going to eat away at you. Whether or not you stays friends remains to be seen. But you shouldn’t let that get in the way of a business decision. Ultimately this is your future (or at least you are planning on it being so). Treat it as a child, it needs nurturing. And like a child, if it needs protecting then protect it!

    I don’t think I need a partner any more, I knew I didn’t, I just wanted to include my best mate in something that I thought would at least pay for our hobby and maybe one day become a career.

    It is nice to want to look out for our friends but your business decisions should be based on what is best for the business. What has happened in this situation is frustrating and upsetting. But try to take a lesson from it. I am sure that you will look back in a few years time (possibly even a few months) and see that it was the best thing for moving your business forward.

    I don’t feel that he will ever just agree with what I am saying and
    step away. I have thought of just saying I will not do this and starting something up under a different name but it just doesn’t seem that I should have to do this.

    At the risk of sounding like Dr Phil, do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?

    I know him well and by him walking away it would be like saying he lost or he was wrong and they are two things he never admits to.
    I am very torn and lost with this all. At the moment, I have just kept the ball rolling forward and are doing things without discussion.

    Keith I would stop all activity until this issue is resolved. You are only investing your time and yourself into something that, at this stage, you don’t know the outcome to.

    My thoughts are at the moment is to just leave him be and see what he does on his own without me hassling him. If he hasn’t done anything within 4 weeks I am going to register the business name under my sole-tradership’s ABN and remove his admin privileges from the site.

    Do you guys think that is an appropriate course of action? If he does nothing when I don’t hassle him surely that spells out a very clear message?

    To be honest, and not knowing all the specifics, I would be hesitant to go that route. If he wants to get nasty he could say that you were in the process of entering into a partnership agreement and that you basically went ahead without him. You don’t want him bad mouthing you to others either.

    I’m not suggesting he will but these are things that you want to be prepared for as it is an unknown factor. If I were you I would sort it out once and for all. Just bite the bullet Keith, then you can move on and start your own business with a clear conscience.

    Sit down and explain your position but don’t get into specifics about who has done what etc as it is all irrelevant now anyway. Just stick to the issue at hand, ie that you want to dissolve your business dealings with him. Then discuss ways that that can happen, feel him out and see what he wants from it all. Until you do that you are only making assumptions.

    If after hearing him out you are not sure how to proceed, tell him you would like a day to think about it and then you can come back here if you’re not sure and I am sure there will be many, myself included, who can offer their thoughts etc.

    #1022458
    kjd
    Member
    • Total posts: 16
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    Hi everyone,

    Well I have sent off an email saying I am not comfortable entering into a partnership agreement and gave him 3 options:
    I buy him out (sans his content)
    He buys me out (sans my content) with the option of doing things on a paid basis for the site but does not have a controlling interest in the site.
    We shut the site down (I create a new one)
    I sent this at 1:30pm today and haven’t got a reply yet but he works night shift so that may be why or he wants to think about it.

    I told him my reasons for not wanting to go into business with him was that it was going to ruin the business and our friendship and I especially didn’t want to ruin our friendship.

    It will be an interesting reply. Every time I look at my iPhone and see there is an email my heart skips a beat thinking it may be his answer. I hope he don’t let me sweat it for too long.

    When they say partnerships are like a marriage they are right. I sound like breaking up with a fiancé. Haha.
    I’ll keep you all up to date with the outcome. Thank you so much for the advice.

    #1022459
    NeuroWebDesign
    Member
    • Total posts: 34
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    Mate, sounds like you’ve got the enthusiasm and drive to do great things, unlike your partner. I think you’ve taken the right action.

    I look forward to hearing the outcome.

    Best of luck,
    Brad.

    #1022460
    kjd
    Member
    • Total posts: 16
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    Hi Everyone,

    Just thought I’d report back and let you all know how things went.

    At this stage it looks like he is going to step back his exact words were:
    “If you wish to go solo that is your decision”

    He said he would return any items he was reviewing at the time.

    So I’m happy and from the rest of the email looks like we’ll be able to remain mates which is what I really hoped for.

    Now I’m going to ask for some advice off you guys in another thread.

    #1022461
    Karen Wardle
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    • Total posts: 363
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    Glad to hear that it all worked out!

    Thanks for letting us know and thanks for the email :)

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