My Partner Abusing me - Please help, Mastermind plan is needed

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by mcpc, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. mcpc

    mcpc
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    i'm 29 years old,single, so sorry if my english will be poor and long.

    3 years ago i was a college student - first year- Software Engineering BSC Degree. I was looking for work and accidentally meet inside the college a student that just graduated and he told me about his business ideas and after lots of talks and plans we decides to open a business together - a software startup business...he was the programmer and i took care of marketing new projects and sales - was visiting business,learning thier management systems and coming with something better after lots of thinking reaserch and characterizations. I was running all day long from one client to another trying to make deals and designing all the logics and systems, giving my partner exact plans of the needed solutions, and he would sit at home and write the codes\programming sometimes weeks and months for 12 hours a day.

    I was investing all my time in that business and after 10 months I was expelled from college due to low grades.
    after one year we still earned less than the minimum wage so i had to move back to my parents.
    My partner had a girlfriend and asked me if it's fine with me that he will work 2 days a week in other places, and i agreed.

    Second year was still bad cause we still made less money than expacted - we made exactly the minimum wage.

    last year-third year, we started to work on some huge software project with a huge potential we even hired 2 more programists for 4 months, i have execute a really good marketing and advertisment work and few months afterwards we started to get phones from big clients all over,we even got an article in the local paper, and my partner stoped working in other places and invested all his time in our business...I can now say that we are on the verge of success.



    so for sum up:
    My partner wrote and has all the source codes of all the systems he wrote for the customers i brought, the business was not profitable for 2 years,during the business my partner worked in other places while i investes 100% of my time and droped from college and has no degree or some kind of education,during the 3 years my partner gained a huge knowledge in programming and in each of the projects i brought,I have a huge knowledge in ERP and managment systems, the business is on the verge of success.

    All The problems started few months ago when my partner told me that he wants to marry his girlfriend and while he was with me in our business his friends which graduated with him make a lot of money and already have their own houses, while he is stucked with me and could not afford to buy a car. he told me that if we won't start making money fast he will leave this partnership - and that all when we just started to get all the big orders from those big clients.

    ...since than he is abusing me -he knows that he has nothing to lose cause he can find a good work place any where - he has a degree and the experience while i have nothing but that business and all our customers that knows me and trust me, so since than every dilemma every decision is made by him, i mean i try to resist all the time and give my opinion and stand on my decisions but each time we get to the same point - he threaten to leave and to close our business and tells me that he has nothing to lose only to gain...

    all this time while i was out there at the clients, my partner worked from his home, i mean 10 hours each day he was programming. BUT last month things escalated BAD at first he told me that he has no life that he works all the day and needs to be more hours with his girlfriend and than he started working 5-6 hours a day and not making the clients deadlines...started to blame me for giving the customes false promises wich originally was backed up by him and even humiliated me in front of a client one time...

    I don't know what to do! i am boiling inside of me and hiding all the hate and anger inside, sometimes even criminal thoughts comes around. I invested 3 years of my life and i build a real business with more that 200 clients who pay every month, and a business with a great potential.
    My only one idea for rescuing myself and winning this situation was to find a business partner who will buy some share of our business may be even 50%, and than my partner will not be able to call all the shots and will not be able to humiliate me as he is doing now.

    Is that a good plan? what else should i need to do? how can i win?
    Please save me with your ideas...i really need some kind of master plan.


    Thanks,
    Vic
     
  2. sigma

    sigma
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    If this is the case, you might consider to find another partner who willing to buy the share from your recent partner, or you shall consider to buy the share from your current partner by yourself. Also, you might try to get someone who are interested on your business and sell them the company, as you mentioned that your company already have 200 customer which can really attract buyer on your business.

    what i would say is programming is a knowledge but marketing also a knowledge. And, people who are good in marketing are earning much better than good programmer. You can still get a good job with your marketing knowledge if you really want to sell this business.

    On the other hand, you shallnt worry on the programmer because you can hire some of them to do what your partner doing now. The main concern is your finance status and what do you wish to do
     
  3. Fergal

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    Welcome to our business forum Vic and I'm very sorry to hear that you have found yourself in that most unfortunate situation, it really does sound very difficult. The first thing I'd suggest is that you seek professional legal advice. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has a solicitor that they could arrange to see you. Legal professionals have a great ability to give some perspective to difficult situations. Getting a legal opinion will clarify what your rights are and give you a lot more security and confidence with which to deal with your partner.

    Don't underestimate what you have. You have huge experience that will be very valuable to you, regardless of what happens with this business, plus the contacts and trust you have earned with your clients will be of huge benefit for any future work you do within the same industry.

    You seem to feel that your partner has all the power in this situation. It would help you to spend sometime with a pen and paper writing down all the benefits you bring to the business and how you are of value to the business and your clients. Should your relationship with your business partner come to an end, he probably has more to lose than you, he will lose the client contacts and without them he won't have a business. If you can remain in good standing with these clients you may decide to seek employment with one of them or perhaps you could continue the current business by outsourcing the development work and continuing in your overall management and sales role.

    Something else that might help would be to write down a list of every option you can think of, e.g.;

    • Leave the business and look for a job - you have very valuable experience and with some help you could write an extremely impressive CV.
    • Work things out with your business partner and move the business forward to the benefit of both of you.
    • Run the business on your own, without your business partner.

    Doing all these things will give you a position of strength to move forward and to stop taking the abuse from your partner. Once you have written these things out, got some legal advice then arrange a meeting with your partner. Tell him how you feel and discuss options for moving forward. From what you have written above it sounds as if the only option that is not practical for you would be continuing on with the way things are at the moment.

    Of everything I said, I feel that the most important thing for you to do is to seek professional legal advice. Don't bottle it up, tell friends or family about what is going on and remember that in the near future that this will all be behind you and you will have learned a lot that will make you stronger and more capable.

    I genuinely wish you the very best with it, please do post back with your thoughts, any questions you have and to update us as to how things work out.
     
  4. scifi

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    Well.Do you have any kind of partnership agreement in place???

    Also..You can ask for 100% GoodWill value from your partner if he threatens to leave the business..You can even sue him in the court for this since you have invested 100% of your resources in the form of money and time & efforts than your partner...Still..Whatever you do never react in front of your partner...Deal him in a cool manner and show him some kind of vision of "Riches"..He will certainly believe you since you are in the forefront of the customers and handle marketing activities..Give him a dream and in the meanwhile get yourself prepared to face such kind of stuff in future!!

    That's the best in this situation according to me!!! Do your work and Leave the rest to God in the end!!
     
  5. mcpc

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    The Prob

    The thing is that all the source codes of all the systems in his hands and i cannot do nothing with them because i do not understand those codes and my partner refused to sign a partnership contract under the terms i wanted so till now we have nothing signed between us...even if I will buy his share and bring another programmer , it will take ages to teach him all the codes and logics.
    i do not think that my partner will try to sell those systems by his own...he won't need it cause every work place will pay him 5times more that he would be able to earn by himself. what he will try to do is to give away the codes for free or to sell them...
    i like scifi's idea, i will act cool but what more can i do in order to earn more time? he will need to sign on a partnership agreement when a new partner or buyer will join, please tell me more -suppose i will meet a buyer-future partner, what will be in my best interest to offer and to tell him?
     
  6. Fergal

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    Thanks for replying back mcpc, have you considered the option of getting professional legal advice? If you do speak to a legal professional ask him or her about how you can assert your ownership over the code in question, in such a way that your partner can't sell it or give it away free.
     
  7. sigma

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    First at all, it doesnt matter he hold all the codes/system because this is under company property, not his own property. When thing getting worse to worst, then you really need to consider to get advance from the lawyer.
    Second, you are too worry about those coding/program. It shallnt be the major issue, hire an experience programmer will solve this problem.

    By the way, as i can see the problem you mentioned is just your partner refuse to work long hours. And, you need him to work long hours to fulfill customer requirement. Hire one programmer to help him is actually solve the problem. I know that you might think this is unfair to you because you are working hard while he request for more "off-day". If this is the case, just do some adjustment on the salary
     
  8. scifi

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    Well MCPC...

    You can go for hiring a good programmer other than your partner..Consider this a long time investment from your side to clear off the airs of uncertainty from your business for once and all...Moreover don't stick to partner type of model for your Business..Let your partner work for as much time as he desires for...Give that programmer as an assistant to him and let him know the work slowly and steadily..This will help you shoot your revenues ...In the meantime try increasing your team with carefully selecting people for programming and marketing....Bring in an environment in your office that they learn by mutually interacting among themselves..This will help you ready a back up team of programmers that understand logic and source code of your products...

    I am sure this will all take not more than 6-8 months and then if your partner still desires to move on, let him go off.......

    In this situation give a sudden increment to one of your programmer as chief....

    I think this can get you out of trouble you are currently in!!!

    Let us know, if it works for you!!!
     
  9. mcpc

    mcpc
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    matter2

    At the moment the income of the business will not cover another programmer wage.
    furthermore, my partner do not want to take another programmer because he tells me that he got no time to invest in new programmer preparations and that an that a new programner will need the access to all of the source codes and he might "steal" it do sell it or use it without our permission.

    suppose i went to lawyer - and was told that i have all the rights on the source codes...that goes both ways-my partner cannot sell or use them and as well i can't without his permission. plus-he might give me broken or wrong codes and i even would't know the diffrence
     
  10. Fergal

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    You need to see that lawyer mcpc.

    He will most probably be a lot less inclined to do that if he knows that you have taken legal advice and that you know your rights.

    That's something you can discuss with your lawyer. Knowing your rights and obligations is a good thing, it is much better to know than to not know, ignorance is not going to help you with this matter.
     
  11. scifi

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    Hmm, well if that is the case..then you can not go on with this advice...

    It would be better if you take legal advice in this matter..Because any person will not want to fall in legal hassles at this point of career...But, I doubt about the integrity that will be there between two of you after this step...

    Still I will suggest to find some way of out of the court settlement...

    My suggestion is that you two go off to some place where you can talk calmly..Discuss with your partner his situation and then tell him yours..See if you both of you can reach out for any conclusion in this meeting!!
     
  12. mcpc

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    i'm saving the legal card to the end - is that the end?

    I do not have any paper signed with the partner and that was my mistake
    because now he refuce to obligate nothing to me...this week things escalated...he is working not regularly claiming he is working all day long, he is trying to blow up our deal with our biggest customer that needs to sign with us on next monday, by claiming that he needs more time beyond the deadline that was already postponed 4 times and the customer is furious! and he is trying to blow up the partnership offer by claiming that he refuces to commit to work hours...moreover he is claiming that the this all is my fault and he wants to continue but not in this way...he don't know in what way...don't mind to consulting with any consultant but if the business won't reach 5000$ till august he wants out! I'm at the end of my rope! what do i do?????
     
  13. sigma

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    If i'm in your case, i will now go to get a programmer, at least i have some backup. At the same time, i will start to build my own company, if thing come worse to worst, then i will take my programmer and all the customer to the new company and close the recent company. I wouldnt let the issue re-occur in future, and i wouldnt like to have partnership with this kind of people.

    If you are good in marketing and able to get client, you no need to worry much. You can get some freelance programmer in project base if you want to save cost.
     
  14. Fergal

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    Did you contact a lawyer yet mcpc? If not, is there any particular reason why not?
     
  15. f5mtadas

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    I think it would be worst plan, if you will not talk with him eye to eye about the problems.
    Also I would recommend ask him to invite him girls to come to meet with you too.
    meet with your partner and him girlfriend to talk about the business and them future plan.

    The problem is the girlfriend's requirements to your partner, but you need to talk
    with him girlfriend too and tell that they can have very bright future - it is the time
    to take action. Just ask about patience for the business. Tell him girlfriend about
    that - females sometimes don't understand what the true reality is and want to
    live only with positive emotions.

    I know many examples when guys choose business career rather than spending time
    with girlfriends. I choosen that too, because sooner or later he return back
    to the same stage (lack of money all the time, taxes and so on - it is negative reality)

    So meet him girlfriend and talk with her about that - I think it is quickest way
    to fix the problem.

    Tadas
     

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