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What happens when a business partner leaves the partnership?

When you work closely with another person on the time-consuming and often frustrating process of building and maintaining a profitable business venture, your partner's sudden announcement that he or she has decided to leave the partnership can feel like a divorce, or worse, a death. While you previously had your partner to rely on for both the daily tasks and long-term goals and obligations of your Virginia small business, you have now found yourself alone. That can be unsettling, daunting and, in many cases, frightening.

So what can you do to keep going after your partnership dissolves? How can you recover, both emotionally and financially, and ensure that you and your business remain profitable in both the short- and long-term?

First, and perhaps most importantly, you should remain aware of your cash flow and ensure that you always have enough available capital to make payroll and meet all other financial obligations.

In other less logistical advice, the departure of your partner will probably force you to make some decisions about the future of your business. Make those decisions quickly and act on them as soon as possible. Putting off the inevitable won't help you, and it certainly won't help your business.

If your partner formerly handled a select set of tasks, you may be forced to step outside of your comfort zone in order to ensure that those tasks get completed. Although it may be hard, look at it as an opportunity for growth, both as an individual and as a businessman.

Finally, make sure that you have a back-up plan. The simple truth is that one person can't do what two people formerly did, and the exit of your partner may mean the end of your business. Have a plan in place for what you are going to do if that comes to be.

Source: Forbes, "Founder Divorce: Nine Lessons From When My Business Partner Jumped Ship," J.J. Colao, Dec. 5, 2012

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