Finding startup success with your friend turned business partner may seem like a dream come true. You not only support and encourage each other in your personal lives but in the professional sphere as well. But what happens when your business relationship fizzles? What if your partner’s vision for the business no longer aligns with yours?
Well, our guest today was in that exact position and he is here today to share his experience with us. We’re pleased to welcome Wylie Robinson, CEO of Rumpl, and author of “Why I Had to Fire My Co-founder, CEO and Close Friend” which appears in November’s issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. Welcome to the Atlanta Small Business Show, Wylie.
While Wylie’s company Rumpl, Inc. was going through some challenging times, his co-founder and great friend started experiencing some turbulence in their relationship. Rumpl was now successful, but the stakes were higher than ever. Even though Wylie and his co-founder had complimentary skill sets, they did not make great business partners. They were arguing over expanding the business model, and other key issues for the business. Later, they realized that they ultimately had fundamental differences about how the company should be run.
It became clear that the company would not be scalable as long as both men were on board. After a series of long conversations, both parties ended on a decent resolution and moved on. Wylie had more or less began to fill the role of CEO, and his partner was impeding the growth of the business. Ultimately, there was more momentum behind Wylie’s vision for the company, and a decision was made. However, this hasn’t deterred Rumpl’s success.
Wylie recommends that if you find yourself in a similar circumstance, first you need to make sure you fully understand your company’s legal documents. You also need to really get to the bottom of the issue at hand. Personal disagreements can really derail the business and vice versa. You need to do what’s best for the business, not follow your personal preferences.