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NPE - Partnerships - THE GOOD THE BAD THE UGLY - Part 2 - By Sean Greeley

Partnerships: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Part 2

Part 2 of 2 (read Part 1 here)

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Your first step is to stand back from the situation and see where there is alignment and where there is not.

Get clear on the path forward in terms of vision, goals, purpose, and mission. Review who you want to serve and why. In fact, as you grow your business, the more important it will be to get clear on things like ideal clients and messaging to them.

Engage in regular reviews of agreements and strategic planning.

Go seek counselling. We’ve seen a lot of business partner’s work through tough challenges by involving a professional that helps everyone to navigate communication and work through conflict in the relationship.

Work with a business coach.

Having an outside expert support conversations around business strategy, opportunity, and more accelerates your success (which generally makes everyone happy).

It also allows for personal and professional growth and development on all sides to continue (lack thereof is generally what stalls business growth, which leads to unhappy partners!).

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First off, take a deep breath. It’s OK.

Just because partnerships end doesn’t mean you’re bad people.

And take the time to really ensure this IS the right time to end the partnership by consulting and/or working with a counsellor and/or business coach.

But if it’s time for a transition to occur, remember that not all (and in fact most) business partnerships last forever. This just means that what was once working for both parties was… isn’t working any longer. We need to have ways to untangle that and support everybody in their future.

Here’s some options to consider with a business transition:

  • You can sell the whole business. This is pretty common, but often there are non-compete clauses that limit your future freedom.
  • One side can buy the other out. (Make sure you figure your new payments into your cash forecasting). Don’t forget non-compete.

  • You can close the business. This may be challenging given the business’s liabilities, leases, etc.

In the case of a business buy out, if there isn’t already a predetermined formula for business valuation and terms of sale to the other party… then seek out an independent third party to help everyone align around the valuation numbers and terms. Be patient with this process.

It can take weeks or months to unravel, and that’s ok.

There’s a lot involved and a lot to process (emotionally, mentally, and physically) when things reach this point.

In the meantime, take the high road to treat each other, your staff, and your clients with care as you establish the appropriate path forward for all parties.

And above all, do your best to treat others with kindness and respect (and represent yourself by your values) even when you feel the other party isn’t always doing the same.

Take the high road whenever you can. But don’t allow yourself to be bullied or taken advantage of either. Seek help when needed.


Should you have a business partner? First, start out taking a look with the eight top challenges of fitness business partnerships. Decide whether you would prefer to run your own show, or if you’d rather share the billing and the decision-making. Look for alignment in as many areas as possible, but understand that you must align on values if the relationship is to last.

You can also use the issue of alignment to make existing partnerships better. You can look at where you work well together, and what skills individually and together you need to improve. This can be taken as far as counselling — some business partners have thrived when they’ve talked things out with a professional and allowed issues to surface and be resolved.

Finally, there’s the breakup. It doesn’t make you bad people. But you will need to act. Your options will be to sell the whole business, close the whole business, or one partner buys the other out. And of course, treat everyone with kindness and respect. Take the high road.

Written by Sean Greeley for the Summer Edition of the What’s New in Fitness Magazine.


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