How would you fire friends?
I started a business that was going very well. To expand I called two friends of mine who have similar experience in the field. However, since they have joined nothing has gone right. I have ended up in debt and business has gone into loss.
Both of them were suppose to be an asset, but they have become liability. The attitude towards work and the extra efforts towards putting value such as educating themselves, working extra hours if needed, taking initiative, etc. have been zero. This is hampering my own mind set and zeal towards work, and I have stopped enjoying the work.
None of the partners have any sort of written agreement on paper as a joining partner, as it was goodwill. When I give feedback they either start complaining, stating that 'you always complain or that you are hanging on to the past' when the thing is that they repeat the same stuff every day.
I am stuck. If I fire them, it won't be good for our relationship and if I don't, then soon enough I will have to close the business.
I need advice. What would you guys do?
I've been in your place once, and let me start at the end, they will not be your friends anymore, it's over.
I agree with Brandon, before you even hint you're going to take any action, make sure they don't have anything you don't, contacts, documents, etc.
When you sit with them and it's time to break it up, you have to be strong enough to not fall for whatever excuses they will give in order to stay with you, this would simply be their strategy at getting back at you, if you let them stay, they will damage you and your business for good.
Look, a good friend is a responsible friend, if they don't add up to your future (which is their future as well), then they don't deserve your partnership, not your friendship.
You have to be ready to change all passwords immediately after you Ciao them out.
Read the post, they all have many good points. You may not have anything on paper, but does your state or city require a contract for a partnership.
Put everything on paper, document why you are asking them to leave your organization. You stated that before your company was profitable and since they have join you have see a decline and or debt. Documentation is your best friend.
Once you have came to a agreement, make sure they don't leave you fully responsible for taxes (state and federal). I have been there and done that.
Relationships are very important in life, but when running a business you need to be discreet and decisive. And yes let me assure you friendship is not all about hanging out. Talk to your friends about the current situation, thank them for helping out till now(even though they may not have done so), and intimate them that you would be in a bitter position if things continued put a notice of their elimination.
As I have mentioned, you are running a business not some community service centre where you have the luxury of feeding fodder for free. In business decisiveness very important.
Fire them...They don't sound like real friends, and you may lose their friendship, but honestly they seem like parasites as opposed to people who genuinely care and want your success.
Brandon offers sound advice as it pertains to severing the cord with these friends. You have learned a tough lesson; never hire friends or family in a business context. because when things go wrong, the is more to lose than money.
I would augment the advice you have already received by having a discussion with your legal counsel (if you don't have one, you need one), then quickly and securely sever ties and then immerse yourself into rebuilding your business. Start by getting back to basics, doing the things you did well in the beginning and then reevaluate using an outside consultant. This way, you can re energize and rebuild. Good luck.
Very difficult but I agree with Rick, start with what is more important to you. You might be able to sale them on the fact that it might be beneficial to them to move on if the company is having trouble.
All in all I think most business owners have hired a friend, myself I had a situation much like yours. Business is business and your friend should respect that!
systematize your business so that you are not dependent on personalities
If firing them causes harm to your relationship you might even be better of without them. If they are true friends they will (eventually) understand why you had to make the decision and shrug it off.
So in other words be honest with them and let them off like the other replies suggest.
It is simple. Is it more important to be friends or save your business and reputation? You can find new friends, Can you rebuild your bank account and image as easily? To me it is simple.
Very difficult situation indeed. I see lots of to the point answers, suggestions here. I agree with all those.
1. Check the legal consequences before even thinking of firing them. Since there was no agreement or paper work, I think it should be okay.
2. Once you are clear from legal side, have a one :one conversation with them and explain the situation.
This is a situation where you need to isolate yourself as an employer not as a friend.
Tell them you value their friendship hence having this heart to heart conversation and telling them in person.
3. Be prepared for reactions from their side. It might become nasty sometimes but keep your cool and tell yourself that you are doing this for better.
After all these are done, give yourself and them a decent time to get back as friends.