There’s a lot riding on your relationship with your partners, so learning to keep emotions in check and solve conflicts is important.


They say that you should never go into business with friends or family. But maybe that warning comes too late in your case.

You started a successful cleaning business with your friends or your family and now you are trying to navigate this business relationship without it going up in flames. Especially when you consider that you might be spending holidays with these people for years to come.

Business relationships are hard. There is always money involved, usually large amounts. You likely spend more time with your business partners than with your family. (Or too much time with family if it’s a family business.) And without fail, there is always a point in time where you feel like you are doing the brunt of the work.  

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There are always going to be rough patches. There will definitely be disagreements, but here is how to navigate these sticky situations and come out of them with your relationships intact. 

  1. Take a breath. No matter what happens, don’t immediately react. The popular saying is that you should “respond, not react.” Reactions are almost always from heightened emotions. A more calm and thought-out response will lead to success almost every time.
  2. Remember, there are always two sides to the story. If you feel overworked, your business partner probably feels the same way. Try to remember that before you accuse them of not pulling their weight. Explain that you are really stressed because of project A. Ask if they can take on project B so you can successfully focus on A. 
  3. Be honest. If you are mad about something or don’t agree with a decision your business partner made, tell them. They can’t read your mind. Holding feelings in leads to an explosion of emotions that generally blindsides the other person. When in doubt, explain how you feel and hopefully that will be the end of the problem.
  4. Keep your personal life separate from your business life. If you are in business with your family, it is a little late to worry about this one. You spend a lot of time with these people and it can be really hard to separate yourself. But some separation is good for any relationship.

Honestly, none of these tips are foolproof. You have to create a relationship that works for you. At the end of the day, you chose these people to be your business partners for a good reason. Remember that, because much hangs in the balance.

About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.

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