how to spot a toxic business partner

How To Spot A Toxic Business Partner And Get Rid Of Them

Only 30 percent of business partnerships succeed, but this doesn’t mean you need to completely avoid getting into one. Having a business partner gives you the advantage of more capital, tax benefits, and combined skills and knowledge, to mention a few. But to make sure you don’t fall into the 70 percent of failed partnerships, you need to learn how to spot a toxic business partner and get rid of them.

Toxic partners can put many things at risk, whether that’s relationships with other partners, the company’s financial health, or the motivation and morale of employees.

Here are signs your business partner is toxic:

#1. They don’t treat others well

Rudeness and business do not go well together. If your business partner talks down to others, blatantly disregards others’ feelings, and lacks empathy, you probably have a toxic partner. 

You don’t want to drive away employees, customers, or vendors with your partners’ attitude. It wouldn’t be surprising if they wouldn’t feel bad firing a vendor and even telling a customer off. While giving constructive criticism and being assertive are important in leadership, a partner who abuses their role and belittles and ridicules others is not someone you want to keep around. 

#2 They are never accountable

Everybody makes mistakes. The important thing is that you take responsibility for them and learn from your mistakes. Toxic business partners never own up to their mistakes (and are bound to repeat them). Instead, they blame others for them—the vendor, the customer, or even you.  When someone refuses to accept accountability, they may resort to blaming others for mistakes or failures. This can create a toxic work environment where team members are constantly pointing fingers and deflecting responsibility.

A partner who refuses to recognize their wrongdoings can only hold back the growth of your business and cause future problems. Without accepting accountability, it becomes difficult to identify areas for improvement. When people don’t take responsibility for their actions, they are less likely to learn from their mistakes and make changes to improve their performance.

#3. Their values and purposes are different from yours

At first, your values and purposes seemed to be in sync. But through time, they start to show their true colors. It turns out all was just lip service. Their decisions and business practices go against what you believe in. 

Avoid prospective business partners who profess their purpose is similar to yours but have little to no strategy on how they can achieve it. You and your partner must have the same goals and agree on how you can achieve them. 

If your partner starts to deviate from your purpose and values, it’s time to walk away from the partnership. As a business leader, you have to stay true to your company’s values. A business partnership will only succeed if your ideals, beliefs, work ethic, and goals are aligned. 

How to get rid of a toxic business partner

To remove an unwanted business partner, review your partnership agreement, document their behavior, communicate with them, seek mediation if needed, and consider legal action as a last resort. If your partnership agreement outlines the process for removing a partner, follow it. 

Document any violations of the agreement or other toxic behavior. Talk to your partner about their behavior and give them a timeline for improvement. Consider mediation if communication fails. If all else fails, seek legal action. It’s essential to approach the situation calmly and professionally and seek expert advice when needed.

Trust Your Gut

As a leader, it’s important to cultivate and trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right about your partner, there probably is a valid reason for it. 

Trust your instincts and take note of any red flags, such as their behavior, attitude, or communication style. 

It’s important to prioritize the success and well-being of your business. If your business partner is toxic, it’s time to take action and end the partnership.


In your service,

Hilary Corna


Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


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