Breaking up in business

Jun 16, 2020


2 minute read

By Esmée Hardwick-Slack

It’s fair to say that business relationships usually begin with enthusiasm and passion, grow through balance and communication and endure the highs and lows of life. Sometimes, however, businesses don’t weather the storm and things come to an end. As such, it is important to have a plan.

Plan your exit strategy in advance

In business, having clear agreements around how the partners can exit the business is acknowledged as good practice. As such, it is important to have this conversation at the beginning of a business partnership and document it.

Leave emotions at the door

When selling or exiting a business, it’s important to remain professional. You might feel disappointed over a failing business partnership but angry or emotional communications won’t help the process. Take your time, remain calm and if you find yourself drafting a sharp-toned email, save it to your drafts and review it again the next day before deciding whether or not to send it.

External advice and mediation can help

Always seek professional guidance – there are lots of financial and legal experts in the market who have considerable expertise in this area and who can help you to successfully exit your business. 

Know the facts and figures

When the time comes, you need to have a good understanding of your firm, its financials, any outstanding issues, etc. If you and your business partner(s) decide to sell the firm to another company, the buyer will be keen to download your knowledge of the business. If you can explain things in detail to the potential new owners, it will help to build their confidence in the deal and could positively affect how much value they assign to the purchase.

Financial issues and long-term partnership agreements can complicate matters. However, you should aim to exit your business in a way that is mutually beneficial and satisfactory for everyone involved.


Have you any experience of exiting a business partnership? What advice would you give to a new business owner just starting their journey? Leave your tips in the comments or on our Linkedin page.


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