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A closeup image of a broken heart.

The list reads the same: sleepless nights, hairpin emotional trigger, eating or drinking too much (or not enough). The only difference, is that it’s your business partner.

Your friends and family have noticed a change in you, you’re not quite yourself – you know what you need to do, but it’s hard to ‘pull the trigger’.

How do you know when it’s time to call it off?

Some comments made by an entrepreneur I spoke with last week got me thinking about the varied nature of business relationships. He mentioned that his partner had realised early in the piece that the venture wasn’t for him – and so he bowed out gracefully.

Similarly, a friend of mine recently relayed to me the humiliation and disastrous outcome that occurred at an important meeting, when my friend’s business partner had joked to the table of investors ‘Welcome to our little Ponzi scheme’. (For the record, their business is of course all above board!) After an intense row, the business partner promised to never make such controversial jokes in future.

Yet for every peaceful resolution, or amicable split, there are many that end acrimoniously.

The first thing to do, is to be brutally honest with yourself. Are the problems you’re encountering just bumps in the road, or deal breakers? At the very core, a deal breaker is something that simply cannot be overcome. It’s paramount to have good and thorough reasoning, and not to pull any punches. Write yourself a pros and cons list so you can see it in black and white.

Remember that being late for meetings or undermining you in the presence of others, are things which in theory, can be resolved. Your partner may not be aware of how their actions are impacting you. Letting them know what’s bothering you, and giving them the opportunity to address it could lead to a bright and better future.

On the other hand, things like cheating (in the business sense, perhaps colluding with the enemy) or squandering money, are likely to be the bring the relationship to an abrupt end.

Let me know your thoughts at stephanie.zillman@dynamicbusiness.com.au – how do you know when it’s time to call it quits?