Handling A Business Break-Up


Navigating your business relationships is never easy, especially when you have outgrown a relationship with someone.

When you start to attain more success in your business, as well as start to expand your ideas around what works for you, some of the people you brought on when you first started with may no longer fit into the roles they were given at the beginning.

This could be employees, sub-contractors, or even clients.

When you fail to communicate honestly with these people, it can feel like you are carrying a huge weight on your shoulders that will affect your business.

Breaking Up Is Not Easy

The people you have a long term professional relationship with may have done great things along the way to help you, but are no longer the right fit for your business.

However, you don't want to hurt anyone or make a mistake. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Here is what I've found:. When you're this situation, the person is no longer a good fit because of more than one thing. When things start to head south, you must ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. Have I clearly communicated my expectations?
2. Have I clearly communicated when I have been unhappy with their work or behavior?
3. Is it a skill or their behavior that causes them to no longer be a good fit?

Just Be Honest

In the book "Just Be Honest", Steven Gaffney says:

"It is possible to lie by what we choose to say, but it is also possible to lie by what we choose not to say. I believe the biggest reason that people lie is fear. Some common fears that may motivate a person to lie are fear of alienating someone, fear of rejection and fear of retribution."

The cost of not addressing someone who no longer has a place in your business can be quite expensive.

The best time to have an honest conversation with these people is not when you are reacting to a situation. Your reactive brain is very different from your critical thinking brain.

Instead, sit down and write out everything you want to say. Confirm a meeting with them and come to that meeting prepared to discuss what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and how you would like it to unfold.

It is your responsibility as a business owner to have these challenging conversations instead of risking the success of your own business.

5 Things You Can Do to Successfully Prepare for a Challenging Conversation

Here are five things you can do to successfully prepare for these meetings:
1. Write down the challenges and the reason you want to "break up."
2. Think about how to lead the conversation so the other person does not feel like they're being attacked.
3. Pick a date where you have time before the meeting to prepare and time after to decompress.
4. Invite the person to talk to you, and give them an idea of the topic you want to discuss.
5. If they try to engage you then, be honest and tell them you would prefer to communicate face to face and during the time you requested because it is an important conversation.

Breaking up a business relationship does not have to end on bad terms. You can create a win/win experience for you and the other person even if you do "break up". If you fail to be honest, chances are you are going to end up with a mess on your hands sooner or later.

I want to hear from you! Have you ever had to initiate a business break-up? Leave a comment with your tips for "breaking up" with an employee, sub-contractor or client.