• Categories

  • Pages

  • Archives

When Partnerships Go Bad: Recognize the Signs & Take Proactive Steps

partnership break
(A compilation effort with the permission of businesshowto.com.) 

If you’re in a business partnership or a longstanding working relationship that isn’t working, ask yourself these questions. Then, if you need to change or end the partnership, we’ll provide you with a short to-do checklist towards that end. 

A client, we’ll call her Linda, had a business that was struggling financially and operationally. She was totally disgusted because her partner of  several years was no longer carrying his weight and didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. She was stressed at the continued havoc that this partnership was causing in nearly every aspect of her life.

What to do? Her realized that her first commitment had to be to herself. Linda had to take command of this situation. She decided she wanted to give the business and her partner one last chance.

She created Job Roles for herself, her partner and each of her staff. Because of the longstanding relationship between her and her partner, we agreed it was best if a qualified consultant meet with the partner and her to present things up to this point.  NOTE: Using a third-party (like an attorney or mediator) can offer a different perspective to a known problem.

The partner was cordial and listened politely, as had been expected. But, of course, he didn’t really GET IT that things had to change. Linda gave it four months under the new plan. Unfortunately, she had to bite the bullet and make the decision to end the partnership.  Linda realized that with several changes to the business operating methods,  she didn’t actually need a partner. She had been carrying the business alone for several years anyway.

If you can answer yes to one or more of the following it may be time to take command of your business and make the necessary changes.
  • You’re feeling like you’re carrying more than your share of the work.
  • Your partner seems to have lost interest in the business.
  • You find more and more to disagree about.
  • There have been changes in your partner’s life that are interfering with his ability to function in the business.
  • Your interest in the direction of the business is different from that of your partner.

In Linda’s case, she had been performing nearly 100% of the work towards the end of the partnership, her partner had been unfocused for quite a while and he had allowed an enormous amount of drama occurring in his personal life (ex-wife divorce and child custody issues, an inexplicably rapidly formed new relationship, losing decades-long friendships with several close friends, etc.) to spill over into the business.   Although well-experienced with personality changes in people, the level of disconnect that the partner had to the business and the welfare it provided for Linda and other employees was shocking even to us.  Finally, he made the gross mistake of insisting on hiring his unqualified new girlfriend – in a position that required unimpeachable skills and confidentiality.  That’s when Linda finally realized that the partnership was truly over.   He’d simply lost his perspective on the type services that the company provided – those requiring absolute trust.

Here are the steps I suggest you take if you’re seriously considering making changes to your partnership arrangement:

1. Review your Partnership Agreement.

Your partnership may exist in the form of a Partnership or a Corporation. Either way, you have a legal entity that binds the two of you.

Have your attorney review your documents and tell you exactly where you stand from a legal perspective. This is important so you will know your limitations as you begin to plan.

If you have a written agreement about Roles and Responsibilities for each of you, assess whether it is still appropriate or needs to be updated.

2. Decide and document exactly what you want for your business and yourself.

Being in a state of dissatisfaction is the spur that will get you to take action. But you don’t want to take action until you’ve thought through exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Consider probable and possible outcomes for different scenarios to help you finalize a plan.

3. Create and write a plan to accomplish your goals.

The most positive thing you can do is create a plan for yourself and the business as you see it and be prepared to present that to your partner. If dissolving the business is in your plan, be prepared with both the reasons you want to leave…and what you plan to do in the future. You’re not just leaving the business; you’re going into something else.

4. Schedule a time to “talk business” with your partner.

A change of venue from your typical meeting might be helpful. Sitting down over lunch or coffee could be a good place to start.

Be prepared for whatever response comes back to you. It can be anywhere from thankful to downright hostile. It will likely require some time for your partner to think through the ramifications of your proposal. Be forewarned; it’s very difficult for people to make changes unless not making changes will jeopardize something of value to them. The bottom line is you don’t want to back down from what you want. Compromise only if you’re still OK with the terms.

If your partner is looking for an excuse to blame you for the ills of the business, you may hear about it when you bring up the subject. I know it’s tempting, but be careful not to get into a blaming match. The objective is to present what you want for the business and yourself, and your plan to make it happen. Outlining how you see their role in the business is totally appropriate. Then it’s up to them to agree or respond with another suitable option.

5. Be willing to walk away.

If you cannot come to terms, or if you do and the partner does not keep his agreement, you must be prepared for a change in business status. You may decide to close the doors, sell the business, sell your share to the partner, buy him out or any other option that will allow you to move forward with YOUR plan.

We all know it’s not easy to give up on something you’ve worked so long and hard to achieve. It’s a lot like a marriage that’s gone bad. At some point, however, you have to make the decision not to be the victim of circumstances any longer and make your move to position yourself for a better future.

On a final note: have a thorough assets search (personally and professionally) conducted. Linda found out that her now former partner had actually not followed through on many business aspects she’d thought performed and had also converted important assets to himself.

Good luck with your decisions and the outcome.

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.

IDNYC – The Largest Municipal ID Program In The Nation; The Good, The Bad and the WTH??

idnyc v02

What is IDNYC?   As of January 15, 2015, New York City became the largest city in the nation to issue municipal IDs. IDNYC is a free, government-issued identification card that is available to all City residents age 14 and older. Immigration status is irrelevant and not factored into eligibility.

How Does One Obtain An IDNYC? From the IDNYC website:

To get an IDNYC card, you must meet the following criteria:

1) At least four (4) points of documents with:

– At least three (3) points of documents proving identity.
– At least one (1) point of documents proving residency.

2) At least one (1) of the documents submitted must have a photo of the applicant, unless the applicant is 21 years old or younger and is accompanied by a caretaker who can demonstrate proof of relationship.

3) At least one (1) of the documents submitted has the applicant’s date of birth.

What documents are acceptable to prove identity?  The usuals (US Passport, Driver’s License and U.S Visa) fulfill the 3-point identity requirement but so does any combination of the following:

  • Expired Foreign Passport – within three years (2 points)
  • NYS Benefits Card without photo (1)
  • Access-A-Ride ID Card (1)
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Membership Card (1)
  • U.S. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Authorization Letter (2)
  • Your child’s U.S. Birth Certificate – listing applicant as birth parent (1)
  • Certificate of marriage, domestic partnership, civil union, divorce or dissolution (1)

Seriously, NYC government?  Except for the first document (Expired Foreign Passport), none of the above prove identity and all are without photos.  How does having one’s name written on a birth certificate as the Baby Daddy prove jack?  (Unless the applicant’s name happens to be Jack, I suppose.)  And let’s not get cute about a US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).  I’ve covered this subject in many Bulletins.  TINs, employed by the IRS since 1995,  are issued to employees without SSNs – sans verification.  You can bet your bottom dollar (and I’m sure they’ll take mine as well) that the IRS will not lose out on collecting taxes. 

So, to recap, with a TIN and a Baby Daddy certificate, one has now proven his identity sufficiently for a government-issued I.D.  With such security measures, what could possibly go wrong? Moving along…

What documents are acceptable to prove identity? Aside from again, the usual forms of I.D., these documents are acceptable as proof of residency:

  • Court Order issued by NYS or Federal Court (dated within 60 days)
  • “Care-of Letter” Issued by nonprofit organization or religious institution in NYC serving homeless individuals or survivors of domestic violence. Entity must currently receive City funding. Letter must indicate applicant has received services from the entity for past 60 days and may use entity’s address for mailing purposes (dated within 14 days). Address on card will be “Care Of” the organization.
  • Letter from City agency, nonprofit organization, or religious institution in NYC that provides services to individuals without a home address (dated within 30 days). No address to appear on card.
  • Letter Issued by a Hospital or Health Clinic in NYC (dated within 30 days). No address will appear on the card.

As to the first acceptable form of residency – you just know someone will walk in with an open bench warrant in his/her name, but remember no stop-n-frisk any more.   We’ve already covered the non-identity confirmation of a TIN filer.  If a tax return to a TINner can’t prove identity, how is it proof of residence??

The last three acceptable proof of residency documents are just too ludicrous for me not to have checked with The Onion first.  I’d hate to commit copyright infringement.  But, no, no.  This is the law in NYC.   A letter from Tommy at the Y will do as proof of residency even though the applicant does not live there.  

The combinations to secure an IDNYC are many and almost all can be perverted for whatever nefarious reasons people chose to pass themselves off as someone else or to remain below the radar.

Why an IDNYC card? Once again, per IDNYC:

Your IDNYC card is a broadly accepted, official form of identification. IDNYC is accepted:

  • By City agencies to access many services and programs;
  • By NYPD for the purposes of issuing summons or desk appearance tickets instead of arrest;
  • For entry into public buildings, like schools;
  • For taking the high school equivalency exam in New York City,
  • For opening up checking accounts.

So we’re going to give the unverified Baby Daddy access to services and programs (read: tax $$$), help him avoid arrest, allow him access to public buildings like schools, courthouses, libraries, etc and open up a checking account where money from anywhere can be laundered, I mean, deposited into. 

If anyone can provide a viable reason for the need for more I.D. cards, please let us know. Someone, with journo creds preferably, should test this system for loopholes (craters) and security soundness.

Not to feed into terror or xenophobia but seriously folks, if the system isn’t broken, must the government always stomp in and wreak hell?  Oh the good part of IDNYC  – 25% discount to see the big blue whale hanging in the main hall of the Museum of Natural History. (I can do that on any given warm day sitting on Jones Beach but that’s an unpublishable column for another day.)

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy, face-palming on account of this article. 

As always, be safe.  

 

Subject Locates: What’s in a Name?

The date of loss was 5/18/2011. The case has finally come to a serious settlement offer by the insurance company. Your client is nowhere to be found.

After exhausting the client’s primary contact numbers, his emergency contacts and Lexis, online White Pages and Spokeo, to no avail, this type of situation can become frustrating. Finally, using the same platform that propelled Google from the same old search engine to the mother of all information aggregators, comes InstantCheckmate.  A very simple download, this search engine simultaneously culls all of the standard electronic telephone directories (i.e. Yahoo, White Pages, Spokeo, Pipl, Google and many more). Both a yellow and white pages, InstantCheckmate also performs reverse directory searches (for both addresses and phone numbers).

Clear trends indicate that information aggregation will continue to evolve and at much faster rates. For the end user, this means more information will be available, at a faster rate, and with continual updating. For this reason, we conduct frequent search engine tests to determine the lead processor of available information and hence, our current recommendation for phone and address lookups is InstantCheckmate.

Our  investigators: Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.

How is Your WebFace? Controlling Your Public Image.

Kicking off the new year with a new you?  Just make sure you are in control of your old you – especially online, given the access by billions to your digital information.

We’ve all experienced negative postings online.  Whether it’s that awful office party picture, a scathing review or even serious, defamatory comments.   Several ways to deal with these detrimental posts are:

1. Be upfront. Any potential employer/customer/prospective date with even a smidgen of common sense will Google you the minute they’re serious about hiring, doing business with or dating you. It’s far better to come forward with the disclosure  than wait for them to discover the negative information on their own. Let them know what’s out there, the truth and how you intend to handle it. (This may actually work as a positive for you in that it displays your awareness of online reputation and perception management.)

2. Apologize if necessary. It can be the case that you are wrong.  You made a hasty mistake; an inappropriate tweet about your boss or a co-worker, an arrogant post about what you expect from people you date, even a goofball picture that doesn’t truly represent your best characteristics. A basic tenet of crisis control is, if you have caused the situation, apologize quickly and that will usually immediately lower the temperature of the perceived slight.

3. Get it down. Many people are just now beginning to realize the permanence of the web and how it can create a major branding challenge: once negative information is out there, it’s  difficult to remove. If you’ve created the questionable content (a thoughtless tweet, a tasteless YouTube video) you can delete it and — eventually — it will be removed from the caches of Google and other search engines.  (You can hasten the process by asking Google to remove a page or site from its listings — but only once it’s been taken down). If you don’t control the content, all you can really do is ask the person who does to remove it. This could be polite (a friend who’s posted an inappropriate photo to Facebook will probably oblige you) or not-so-polite (you may need to enlist a lawyer if someone is defaming you and won’t desist).

4. Control your SEO. The best and surest way to overcome negative information that’s plastered on the web? Create your own content and drive the bad stuff down in search engine rankings. No one but your worst enemy will bother to visit Page 20 on a Google search; most readers will stick to the first page or two. Creating a robust social media and online presence guarantees that the top results will be the ones you want people to see. Studies have shown that video, in particular, is prized by Google and will rank highly, so you might want to consider a video blog. Traditional blogs, because their content is updated frequently, are also search-engine-friendly. Creating profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also helps (they’re frequently at the top of Internet searches), and it also never hurts to get quoted in the media or write articles for various publications (which benefits anyone’s personal brand).

If you stick to the principle that everything you input will be seen by a prospective contact, you should be able to eventually develop enough self filters to avoid undoing your reputation online.  (Conversely, being too close-mouthed will make others think you are insignificant or have things to hide.  Play it real and play it smart.)

Included below is a link to 50 niche search engines you should be aware of; Google isn’t the only search site people use to research your background and credentials.

Our Operatives: Street smart, web savvy.

As always, stay safe.

Related articles

Our Way of Saying Thank You & Happy New Year!

2015 New Year discount flyer2015 New Year discount flyer-page0001

%d bloggers like this: