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How to Handle Abrupt Loss of a Startup Partner

Startups can be a little tricky. You’re not sure which direction your project is heading at this point. The failure rate of startups was around 90% in 2019. So if you’re going to need to have people to accomplish things while cutting on cost, you better start with one only.

Your business partner could actually take on the job. You can divide tasks equally and give him a decent payout. This way, you can maintain the budget while reviewing your revenue.

But what do you do when something unexpected happens to your confidant? How are you going to deal with his sudden absence? This is going to affect your startup for sure so you have to take action. The following are some unexpected scenarios where you’d lose your partner. See how you should deal with them too.

Abandonment for lack of faith in the business

It’s hard to convince people to work for a startup. But it’s only going to get worse if your partner decides to leave you hanging. Some leave because they’ve already lost confidence in the business. What you have to do first is to make sure that your business partner is heard. Ask him about his sudden abandonment. Review contracts you’ve both agreed upon to see if he’s breaching them.

Listen to his opinions and take note of them. You may be able to realize his points. Tweak strategies for your business approach if that’s the case. Otherwise, you can explain to him your strategies to convince him to return. His accumulated knowledge is important more than ever. Win him back if possible.

Gave up of exhaustion

One disadvantage of a startup is the heavy workload. If your partner quits because of exhaustion, you might want to review all the tasks you’re giving him. You may be giving him more than he could handle. In 2017, 39% of surveyed workers by Statista said that too much workload is the cause of their stress.

Startup norms can include long hours of work, trial and error, revenue challenges, and more. These factors can greatly degrade your partner’s motivation. If ever you’d be able to convince him to come back, make sure to check up on him every once in a while. Give him just enough tasks he can do without too much pressure. Your business is as important as everyone’s mental health.

Unsatisfied with payout

Your partner may have accepted long hours of work as a startup norm. But are you compensating him enough for going the extra mile? It’s hard to lose a person who works efficiently. If your partner’s reason for leaving is because of his pay, you have to consider two adjustments. You could either lessen his workload or compensate him enough to cover the extra hours of his work. Give him what his job is worth. Do the same for the people you want to hire next.

Unexpected incarceration

This moment could be very unprecedented but you have to be prepared. You might get surprised by the news that your business partner was sent to jail. Panicking is a valid reaction but you have to clear your mind and see how you can contact your business partner. It’s very crucial to know how much progress he has already done for the project. You’d need to pass on the information he’s holding to the next person you’re hiring.

Bail bond agreements can also help your business partner to get out of jail while his case is on trial. It’s a perfect way to buy him time out of the prison. Meet up with him so you two could talk about all the business decisions he did before the ordeal.


You’d be left with no choice but to restart on your own if this happened. A project partner’s death would not just be difficult emotionally. It could also hit your startup really hard. In this case, you have to pick up where your partner left off. Review all the tasks you gave him. Analyze all the developments he’s done for the business. They’ll be useful once you’ve already decided to get a replacement for your late partner. The role and the tasks he left should be communicated to the next person comprehensively.

Building a startup is risky. Every little decision you make will either make or break your business. Take control of everything you can. Meanwhile, learn from the things that are beyond your control. Most importantly, value the person you’re going to work with in the early stages of this venture. Just like you, they hold the key to the success of your business.

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