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In Business, Don't Take It Too Personal

Aug 29, 2007
You've probably heard it said, "business is never personal" or "don't take it personal, it's only business". Many times business matters shouldn't be taken personal. After all business is only business. Or is it? Not taking things personal can be quite difficult in some situations. Especially when it's your business and other people are involved.

Many times people start a business together and for good reasons. Each individual has his or her own skills and often, different skill sets complement each other. The same is true of personality types. Some people are more outgoing and would feel more comfortable representing the business to the outside world, whereas a more introverted person would probably prefer to work behind the scenes.

Many companies attribute their success to such a combination of personalities. Sometimes it's a visionary with a right hand or assistant, where to the outside world there appears to be a clear hierarchy. This doesn't always have to be the case behind the scenes. In other situations there is a duo that heads the company together as equal partners. In many cases there is a combination of two or more individuals that form the driving force behind the company no matter what the configuration may be.

Often such individuals are far more than just business associates. Many times they start off as good friends. They share a common vision of the future and decide to head off and start a business together. In any business problems and challenges are to be expected, especially when it's a startup company. In which case they are pretty much guaranteed. However leaping over these hurdles often strengthens the bond between entrepreneurs that have a shared vision and strive for a common goal.

But what happens when the relationship deteriorates? What if personalities start to clash or if visions grow apart. There may come a point where it would be best for all parties concerned to end the relationship. Like any marriage this can be a very difficult process. First of all there is the matter of ownership. If two, or more, people have been running a business together each individual has ownership of the company.

Ending the working relationship would most likely mean that someone would have to give up their share of the business. One way of course would be to buy that person out. However that can be difficult for a number of reasons. First of all you need to assess the value of each individuals share.

Accounting practices can help a great deal but it's not just money that you're talking about here. Someone may have invested a substantial part of his or her life and energy into the business. The value of their share of the company can have a high emotional factor. Putting a price on that is not as easy as adding up some numbers on a balance sheet.

Then of course there is always the question of the company's potential future worth. Asking someone to walk away from a business they believe may one day become a million dollar company would take quite a bit of persuasive power. This can be especially hard if the company isn't doing too well currently, in which case there may not be sufficient funds for a buyout at all.

A breakup between business partners in such a situation can be extra painful. Consider the situation where one person wants to continue the business while the other is asked to walk away. Business wise this may be completely justified. If somebody isn't bringing enough value to the table, shouldn't he or she be eliminated? After all in business it's all about the bottom line.

When faced with situations like these, words like "Don't take it personal" fall short. To some people there is almost nothing more personal than their business. They have sacrificed greatly for it to succeed. And it is he or she that has made the business what it is today. Just think of hugely successful businesses like: Microsoft, Dell, GE and Apple. Their success is highly correlated with the strength of personalities of their leaders.

People like: Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Jack Welch and Steve Jobs would never have achieved their current levels of success without taking their businesses personal. It is their business. Look around you for examples that are a bit closer to home. Almost everyone knows an example of a corner store, a grocery or bakery that sets itself apart because of the owner who is running it. That owner makes a difference because he takes his business personal.

When there is more than one owner in a business personal differences can eventually lead to a situation where a breakup is inevitable. When something like that happens it will be hard, if not impossible, for all parties concerned to completely separate personal from business matters. A breakup can have a dramatic effect on someone's personal life and belief system. Besides when business partners come to the point where they decide to split up trust has often been violated and such a violation is almost always felt as personal.

This human aspect is without a doubt one of the most difficult aspects in business and life in general. Whether you're dealing with business partners, employees, customers or other stakeholders. If you are in business, especially your own business, there will be times when you will have to make unpopular decisions. You may have to do things that you would rather not do. Nevertheless when it's necessary, it's necessary. Don't worry about letting if affect you every once and a while. Some things ought to be taken personal. Just don't take it too personal.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of Be Successful News , a site that provides information and articles on how to succeed in your own home or small business.
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