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TheStreet Open House

How to Know It's Time to Part Ways With a Business Partner

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Much like a marriage, a business partnership may start out with the best of intentions, but constant disagreements or financial woes can bring even the strongest relationship to its knees. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses and part ways, even if it hurts your feelings -- or your livelihood. Our experts weigh in on the top five ways to tell it's time to stop working things out and start packing boxes.

1. A stalemate occurs on a regular basis.

"If no decisions can ever be made because you and your partner can't agree on anything, then what are you left with?" asks Angie Segal, business coach and owner of ActionCoach in Silver Spring, Md.

When no decisions get made, a business won't have any new revenue streams and turns quickly stagnant, Segal says.

"You end up stuck in endless loop of 'Oh, we need to make a change, but we can't agree, so let's do nothing,'" she says.

In a good partnership, both parties should understand what happens if a stalemate occurs. Either an outside party has a vote, or one partner's decision trumps another. When this doesn't happen, it's time to think about moving on.

"When neither party is willing to budge, there's nothing to do but walk away," she says. "Somebody has to be willing to compromise or take a chance."

2. You're hiding things from one another or not communicating

In many partnerships there is a "natural division of labor," Segal says -- one partner may be better at sales, while one person is better at the books. Unfortunately, this may lead to a situation where neither partner understands the other's role and the waters get muddied.

"If your partner is not willing to sit down with you and go over the books, then you have a serious problem," she says. "If your partner keeps telling you lots of sales are 'in the pipeline' but you never see anything, then you have issues."

When partners start using intermediaries to communicate or communicating exclusively by text or email -- even when they're in the same office space -- it's a major red flag that the lines of communication have broken down, says Charley Polachi, executive recruiter and co-founder and managing partner at Polachi Access Executive Search in Boston.

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