When a Health Crisis Threatens Your Business: Navigating Partnership in Adversity

Through the years my business partner and I took pride in our ability to successfully work together.  We have been friends since we were teenagers.  We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we were able to respectfully discuss our views and make decisions to enhance our business.  We called it “disagreeing without being disagreeable.”  We prided ourselves on being entrepreneurs with humble beginnings.  We both had regular full-time jobs, but did our joint venture on the side for about eleven years.  Well, my partner is no longer able to do the business due to a major sickness.  So his youngest son, who is 22, has been pitching in.  It has been extremely difficult.  I’m at the point now where I may discuss buying my partner out.  His son knows little to nothing about the game of continuing to make this work, and I know he has to learn.  While he respects me, heads are clashing.  He seems to want to prove his worth, and I can respect that, but he is young and inexperienced with the business and he does need to grow.  He is quick-tempered and defensive.  We have lost a few potential clients by doing it his way, or by him not following up as needed.  His father and I are equal partners, and he calls himself representing his father’s interests.  My partner’s illness makes him unable to communicate his desires, and unfortunately, this situation was never discussed.  I won’t let our hard work crash because of a possible ego thing.