When Business, Friends and a Dream Collide

An email about lessons learned when exiting a business partnership.


When I started my business with my best friend, Alex, I never imagined that we would end up in court over the company. It was painful but gave me a lesson I want to share with others to avoid the same fate.

The phone call from our large competitor wanting to buy us you at a life changing amount was the end of us.

Alex wanted to stay and I wanted to take the money and do something else.

Alex wanted to build a lasting legacy for his children to take over.

I wanted to cash out and start something new and exciting.

We couldn’t come to an agreement.

First came the arguments and then the cold silence as communication totally broke down. Heck, we didn’t even nod an acknowledgement to each other when we were in the lift. Our staff were walking on pins and needles as you could cut the tension with a knife.

It was pointless to come to the office so I announced I would be working predominately from home.

Finally, right before the weekend of our 15th anniversary of the company, the doorbell range and I was served.

Alex had filed a lawsuit against me – accusing me of trying to force him out of the company and neglecting my duties by working remotely.

I was shocked and hurt. All I ever wanted was to build something great between us, and now everything felt like a failure.

We couldn’t even agree on the next steps.

The only thing in common was the windfall for both of our lawywers as we bickered and argued.

Even worse, with both Alex and me tied up with our lawyers and the employees feeling the tension and the heat, things began to go downhill fast.

We were too distracted to notice.

Eventually, we both cut off our own heads to spite our faces as the business had to be liquidated and the money provided to cover legal fees.

Was it worth it? Nope. Alex’s legacy was in dust as was my bank balance.

We had to start again. Our own separate journeys as the friendship between us was dust too.

The lessons? I’ll talk about those tomorrow.

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