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Good Riddance Or Heartache? Unpacking The Bittersweet Farewell

Deciding when to stay and when to go

Deciding when to stay and when to go
Contributing Writer

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, the month of February often conjures images of love, happy couples, and flourishing partnerships. But not every relationship is sunshine and roses, and sometimes a breakup is inevitable.

The same rings true in professional relationships and business partnerships. When a professional partnership starts to sour, the first thought may be, how do I salvage this? However, sometimes a strategic relationship may have simply run its course and it’s in everyone’s best interest to part ways. So, when does it make sense to try to mend a struggling partnership, and when is it best to cut your losses and move on?


Should I Stay?

When you have put in time and effort to develop a professional strategic partnership with another company, it can be very frustrating when it’s not working out as planned. Your first instinct will likely be to think of ways to try to fix it, and often, even a failing strategic partnership can be saved. However, in order to avoid expending a ton of effort into something that may eventually not pan out, there are key steps you should take to try to get a partnership up to snuff before calling it quits.

First, review your partnership agreement with your strategic relationship. If you don’t have a partnership agreement, it’s time for you to meet with your strategic partner and hash one out. Not having a clear agreement in place with deliverables that identify who is doing what is often why a partnership isn’t working. Without delegating responsibilities and having clear deliverables and objectives for each partner, there is nothing to determine the success of the partnership, and you will have no ability to hold your partner accountable when work isn’t being done.

If you do have a partnership agreement in place, take some time with your strategic partner to revisit the deliverables that have been outlined and discuss why expectations aren’t being met. Do they need to scale back what they can provide because they don’t have the necessary resources? Do you need to adjust the timelines that were first laid out because they were unrealistic? Maybe the initial objectives that were laid out just no longer fit either of your business needs and need to be re-evaluated. Whatever the case may be, this discussion can be extremely helpful to determine where the breakdown is and if it can be resolved.

From there, you can set new objectives and deliverables or adjust the ones you already have. Set new timelines to be able to accomplish those new objectives and also set planned check-ins along the way to ensure things are staying on track or if they aren’t, the lines of communication can at least be open to make sure both sides are apprised of what’s going on. A good strategic partnership can often be salvaged as long as each side is open to working together to make shared business objectives happen.


Or Should I Go?

If you have taken all the steps to try to get a strategic partnership back on track and things still aren’t clicking, it may be best to professionally part ways. It can be extremely frustrating putting effort into a strategic relationship that isn’t panning out, or you feel like you’re putting in all of the work without the other side reciprocating. If you feel like you have exhausted all of your options, it’s likely better to cut your losses and call it quits.

When ending a strategic partnership, make sure you are handling it professionally. While it may not be working out now, you never want to burn bridges, as you never know what could happen in the future. Another thing to keep in mind is you want to make sure you aren’t violating the terms of any agreement you may have entered into with the other company. Review your partnership agreement, specifically clauses regarding termination, so that you can take care of things properly, provide the proper amount of notice, and make sure you aren’t in violation of your contract.

End things cordially where you can always leave the door open should there be opportunities for your companies to work together in the future. Just because it didn’t work out this time doesn’t mean that will always be the case.

Getting Back Out There

Forging strategic partnerships can provide numerous benefits for your company. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that not all partnerships will pan out and provide the results you had hoped for. Even in those cases, partnerships that fizzle out can be a great learning experience and help you avoid making similar mistakes with future partners and also help you determine what will provide a better partnership in the future. Don’t let one failed partnership deter you from moving forward. You will ultimately find the right strategic partners to form mutually beneficial long-term relationships.

This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine February 2024 issue.
About the author
Contributing Writer
Erica LaCentra is Chief Marketing Officer for RCN Capital.
Published on
Jan 30, 2024
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