Some of the greatest businesses were started with a partnership. It can sometimes be two friends. Sometimes even a marriage unites the two founders. However, not all business partnerships are destined to succeed. There is a multitude of causes for failure.
Different Life Stages
It helps if both business partners are at similar life stages. An energetic recent college graduate might not pair well with a senior citizen. Their priorities are very different. One might want to become massively successful while the other is looking for a hobby. These enormous differences will inevitably lead to conflict. It might also be difficult for these two partners to understand each other.
Lack of Hunger
A difference in hunger will be a wedge between two partners. If someone has great ambition, they’re probably willing to work a lot of hours and put themselves through a lot of stress. Someone looking to coast might just check out at 5 o’clock every day and not work weekends. Over time, this will build resentment between the two.
The difference in hunger might bring different strategies as well. A hungry entrepreneur might want to borrow money and go on an acquisition binge. Another would be content to stay small.
Misaligned end goals
This could be various reasons. For example, someone might want to go to grad school in a few years. Her business partner would be forced to buy her out.
Variance in Values
These are fairly common as it’s hard to get two people perfectly aligned. One partner might want to save on costs to increase distributed profits. The other might want to expand by increasing the spend on marketing.
Unmatched risk tolerance
This is particularly true of borrowing money. Some people are aggressive and would be willing to take on a lot of loans. Others are risk-averse and would avoid any financing.
This extends beyond just borrowing money. Some people would take a risk on hiring someone new, while others would only want seasoned professionals. All of this leads to conflict.
Poor individual performance
Over time, performances will vary. One partner might even take a back seat and not work as hard.
Lack of trust
Communication skills are essential. Both must be honest and trustworthy. A lack of trust will doom any business.
Business partnerships can lead to remarkable fortune. Not all of them succeed.