Case Study 3 – Service Company

Dissatisfied partners in service industry

Due to the competitive nature of the industry, new designs were required from Designer Dave all the time and new marketing strategies were required by Salesperson Don. Over time, however, both became dissatisfied with the proceedings of their partnership and Salesperson Don asked Peter to talk to Designer Dave to recuse the situation.

During the initial conversation with Peter the partners committed to be ready and willing to resolve their poor communication and partnership issues. During individual meetings, Designer Dave disclosed that he wanted to withdraw from the partnership but was unsure how to approach the topic with Salesperson Don. Whenever the issue was breached by Designer Dave, Salesperson Don voiced a commitment to work harder, which resulted in undercutting costs and dissatisfaction with Designer Dave’s own working pace. As well, Designer Dave mentioned that when a client refused to pay, Salesperson Don would not pursue the client for the money owed.

The situation clearly was a one-in, one-out thus a dissolving partnership.

Peter, as a consultant, strives for the best scenario for all and suggested that this situation would be best resolved by each considering going his chosen way. However, Salesperson Don did not see this as a favourable situation because he believed that a portion of the company name was his although it was Designer Dave who invented the name and business.

At the very beginning their partnership was an extension of their friendship and while the going was good all things are perfect.  Nothing was committed to paper so nothing existed on paper as to how to dissolve the partnership.

Given the clarity that now existed between the friends, all that was left to do was to end things on good terms.  Peter negotiated individually with each partner as Designer Dave wanted to keep the business going but without Salesman Don. Ultimately the final agreement was that Salesperson Don agreed to a cash payment to leave the partnership.

Six months later, Designer Dave was still struggling to market and sell his services; he requested Peter’s advice again. Upon further analysis and conversation Designer Dave decided to close the company down and work for another company as an employee and use his expertise in a new work environment.

Salesperson Don went on to work in sales for another company.  The two are still friends with a contented happiness. The process of discovery for the partners led them to realize that, while they could remain friends, their strengths did not flourish in a partnership.

The key to a successful partnership is working for the client as well as the partner.