You must trust the person you get into a business partnership with. Since you are starting a company, you will be sharing assets and difficult decisions with each other. Therefore, you need to trust that each of you will act in good faith towards the business with every decision you make. However, some people do not show their true colors right away and become dishonest after some time.
You may start seeing that more assets are taken out of the business account than needed or catch your business partner in a lie. A dishonest business partner can be frustrating, but thankfully, some tips can help you deal with them.
1) Review Your Agreement
When your business partner is being dishonest, it may be wise to go back to the beginning. Wade McClure recommends going over the contract that you both signed and agreed on when starting the business. Going over your contract can be a good reminder to your business partner that there are certain things they need to be honest with you about and that they have a fiduciary duty to make fair decisions based on your partnership and the business. If you are having trouble interpreting your agreement, it may be wise to seek legal counsel together to go over the contract. Either way, going over your contract is a good reminder that you have a legal obligation to one another.
2) Practice “Active Listening”
If your business partner is being dishonest, and it is evident to both of you, you can sit them down and have an active listening session. Active listening includes listening to your business partner, telling them what you heard them say, and then discussing the topic of discussion. For example, if you ask your business partner why they have lied about transferring funds, and they tell you the reason, you then repeat what they said and then open up the topic for discussion. Active listening can help you determine why your business partner felt the need to be dishonest and hopefully help you both reach a solution.
3) Ask For Help
If you and your business partner cannot resolve their dishonest behavior, it may be wise to get outside help. Remember, your business is the main priority, so if you need outside help, you should not hesitate to get it. You and your business partner can sit down with a mediator. A mediator will listen to both sides of the argument and bring a third-party perspective to the situation. Then, the mediator will help you resolve the problems you both are facing.
4) Walk Away
Although this should be the final option regarding your business and your partnership, you can walk away from both. Sometimes there are things that cannot be forgiven in a business partnership. So, know that walking away is an option, and you can get help from a professional lawyer to help you legally end your agreement.
Finding out your business partner was dishonest can be gut-wrenching, but there are ways to hopefully handle the situation to come to a fair resolution.
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