Recently our industry has seen a lot of shifts. People selling companies, people acquiring companies, companies merging, and sadly… companies falling apart or people within the company disagreeing or parting ways.
I have talked about how out of the 10 times or so I have tried to form a company with friends its only worked out once. I am guessing that is a little below average for most but that’s just from my experience.
I am certainly not discouraged from doing it in the future, in fact I feel much more educated in what to look for in business partners.
Here is the meat of this post. Over my last 7 years I have seen many people split ways and whenever it happens, especially when I am good friends with the parties involved, I always hear about how one side is bashing the other, or how one side is talking shit about the other, or how one side is trying to ruin the others reputation.
The bottom line is people know, or they will know.
I have never in the past (nor will I in the future) talk bad in public about my former business partners. In fact I always always tell people when they ask about the situation that it was my fault it did not work. Usually they are asking because they are thinking about working with them.
I usually always say the same stuff. Just make sure you guys have a FIRM understanding of who is doing what. Make sure you have your legal ducks in order, and especially an exit clause that makes things simple if and when you part ways.
But again back to the point of this article. You can’t worry about what former employee’s and partners say about you. I have done business with some of the worst reputation wise people in the business and they turned out to be ok for what I hired them to do. Likewise I have done business with very recommended individuals and they were shit.
Again People Know. You either bring value or you don’t. It makes little sense to continue a relationship with someone if they no longer bring value. Thats all their is to it.
If you are hesitating on making changes to your company based on what people think. I highly recommend this post by Seth Godin.
Here is a small excerpt:
Every organization worth its salt has at least one guy like this. Someone who knows every technical detail, or has vast expertise in the parliamentary procedure. Perhaps he’s the coot who knows every verse of the Bible or is the only one with a Master’s license. Maybe he’s the guy (the only guy) who can fix that big machine.
And he’s a jerk.
He’s the first one to point out a minor technical glitch and the last guy to want to get on board with a new program. He hazes first-timers and avoids the people who are actually productive. Or he’s the one who can take any metaphor and make it literal, instantly, poking holes in it as he goes.
And of course, he’s the one everyone has to tiptoe around, because they know his technical status can sink their initiative.
I think you should fire this person immediately. Okay, maybe give him exactly one warning.
Its painful to fire people because you think nobody else can do their job, or because its going to be sooo hard to find people to replace them.