My Business Partner is Hiding Clients from Me — How Do I Deal with this Situation?

You’ve just found out that your business partner has been hiding clients from you. Of course, this has a number of important implications including, but not limited to: revenue, reputation, day-to-day operation, and a variety of other issues. All of these, not to mention the breach of trust and value of the interpersonal relationship. It’s a very difficult set of circumstances to deal with, but obviously, you can’t just ignore it. You must take action, not only for your own sake but for the sake of your career and the business at large.

Dealing with a Bad Business Partner Emotions

Anger. Disbelief. Disappointment. Resentment. Shock. Sorrow. You could easily cite any one of these negative emotions because you’ll experience at least one or more of them. Before you do anything at all, it is essential that you understand your gut reaction and the long-term feelings you’ll probably encounter as time goes on. While you will get past this situation, you’ll probably never completely get over it. And, that’s okay.
Not all partnerships or deals work out well. Some just can’t formalize because of extraneous factors affecting the agreement, while others can be impacted by poor communication skills or a lack of flexibility on goals or approaches. This means that it is essential for leaders to stay aware of the state of a pending deal or partnership, especially if there are quiet signs that things aren’t going as well as they’d like. —Small Business Trends
You’ve no doubt experienced difficult circumstances in the past, and this is really no different. While it may be new, it most certainly won’t be the last time. The point being, do not allow pure, raw emotion to dictate your actions. If you give in to your negative feelings, you will make rash, poor decisions that will only make things worse. You need to approach this from a calm and rational perspective. So, give yourself a little time to vent and get those negative emotions out of the way.

How to Deal with a Dishonest Business Partner Who is Hiding Secret Clients

Once you feel calm and collected, you’ll need to methodically approach how you will deal with the situation. Here is a brief but effective guide for the steps you can take to deal with a business partner who has been hiding clients from you:
  • Learn as much as possible about these clients. This probably won’t be easy or pleasant. If you are able, learn as much about these secret clients as possible. You might even go so far as to contact them yourself under the guise of following up with regular business. The whole idea is to try to get the best picture you can about these secret clients.
  • Thoroughly examine all the business’ finances. The very next thing to do is look through your business’s financial documents. While these might not reveal anything at all — if your business partner was clever and deceitful enough — it could reveal an unseen pattern that you never detected before. At the very least, you might find some discrepancies, or this revelation will reveal past discrepancies you could not explain before.
  • Formulate a couple or few separation scenarios. After you’ve done your detective work, it’s time to concentrate on how to best move forward. Since this is such a big betrayal of trust, it’s probably unrealistic to think that you can just patch things up and go on as if nothing has happened. So, you need to formulate at least a couple of ways that you can break up the relationship and do as little damage while causing as little disruption as possible.
  • Talk to your business partner about ending your arrangement. This will most likely be the hardest part of resolving the situation. If you are able, don’t simply cut off communication and walk away. Instead, talk to your business partner in order to gain an understanding of his or her motivations. Although this certainly doesn’t excuse his or her behavior, it might help you in the future to detect when something’s awry when you otherwise wouldn’t.
What other suggestions do you have for dealing with a dishonest business partner who is hiding something important? Please take a moment to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit from your unique perspective! Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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