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How To End A Bad Business Relationship The Right Way

updated 2022-08-09
Breaking up is hard to do but sometimes it has to be done. I’ve had a few of my own moments where I was torn doing what I know needed to be done and needing help getting through to some real “toughies”. Either way, it was worth going through the process.
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There are times it becomes necessary to end a bad business relationship. This could involve a client or business partner and doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with the person as a human being, but may mean that you’ve both outgrown each other or will simply never see eye-to-eye. Or even some other reason may have arisen that causes you to want to end the relationship and cut business ties.

When you have a bad business relationship, it can be tough to know how to end it and difficult to know where to start.

There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to end a bad business relationship. First, take some time to reflect on what went wrong. Was it a lack of communication? Misunderstandings? Inability to work together? Once you have identified the issue, try to come up with solutions. If you and your business partner can't find a solution, it may be time to part ways.

If ending the relationship is proving too difficult, then perhaps it's time you took some steps to improve your situation. Start by improving your communication skills. Make sure you're clear about what you need and how you expect things to be done. Try not to get angry or frustrated; this only makes the situation worse. Finally, try not to make assumptions about your partner's motives; always assume that they are doing their best under the circumstances. 

By following a few steps, you can end your relationship in the right way and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Ending a bad business relationship can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be traumatic.

I've experienced a few scenarios where this was the case, and I'm happy to say they have been very few and far in-between. Either way, when those times popped up they had to be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you are going through the same issues or found this article before having your own experiences, check out some reasons why it is good to end a bad business relationship and how to get things done – professionally.

Understand The Problem

Before you can hope to fix the problem, you first need to understand it. That means being brutally honest with each other. Taking the time to get to the root of the issue will help you move forward in a more constructive way. It's important to be clear with each other about what is and isn't working so that you can pinpoint where the problem lies. Once you know where things stand, it's much easier to come up with a solution.

If you're able to maintain open communication throughout your business relationship, it will be much smoother sailing from here on out.

Brand Misfit evaluating how to end a bad business relationship

Check for Red Flags

There are a few red flags that indicate a bad business relationship.

1) One party consistently puts its own interests ahead of the other. They may be unwilling to compromise or take any actions that don’t benefit themselves first.

2) There is a lot of hostility and conflict. This can be evidenced by angry outbursts, accusations, and negative communication.

3) The relationship is not sustainable – it's likely to end in disaster. Create relationships that can thrive and sustain all involved.

4) Communication breakdowns happen throughout the partnership and no resolutions are good enough to maintain the relationship.

 5) Unable to agree on goals or objectives; worse, how to reach these objectives. Why start a business relationship if you are unable to build a common ground of compromise?

6) Accusing or blaming each other if plans are not working properly. Not speaking to each other unless something goes wrong and not having a plan to talk out what isn't working. If mind reading isn't your business, then learn to hash things out by talking.

7) One or both parties are withholding or ignoring important information. This only leads to more issues than solutions.

8) Taking each other for granted never leaves positive energy so ensure that your intentions follow your actions and you're mindful of how the others feel about the relationship.

9) Not honoring commitments or agreements is a sure way to let a relationship go bad. Address any issues immediately and find ways to correct them that work for everyone involved.

Communication is key

Make sure you are communicating effectively. Talking openly and honestly will help keep the relationship healthy. A good business relationship is built on communication. It's essential to be open and honest with each other so that both parties know what expectations are and can manage them effectively. If you aren't communicating, problems will arise and the relationship will eventually sour.

It's important to get your point of view across in a way that is clear and concise so that the other person can understand it. You don't want them to feel like you're talking over their head or trying to control them. But at the same time, you need to make sure that you're not coming across as cold or unapproachable. A healthy business relationship requires effort on both sides.

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Set Boundaries

If one of you is starting to feel taken advantage of, it’s time to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean one of you has to be the bad guy – it means setting limits and communicating them clearly.

It’s important to have a good business relationship. It can be a source of mutual satisfaction, help you achieve your goals, and be a valuable asset to both parties. But if one of you starts to feel taken advantage of, it’s time to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean one of you has to be the bad guy – it means setting limits and communicating them clearly.

Setting boundaries can be tricky, but it’s important to do what feels right for both of you. No one deserves to feel like they’re being pushed too far, and no one should have to put up with bad behavior in order to maintain a good business relationship.


Make sure you have a timeframe for resolving the issue. If it’s been going on for a while, it might be difficult to fix. But, setting a deadline will help you both move forward.

First, it’s important to have a timeframe for resolving an issue. If it’s been going on for a while, it might be difficult to fix. But, setting a deadline will help you both move forward.

Second, don’t take things personally. If the other person doesn’t seem willing or able to address the issue, that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you. They may just need more time to figure out how to fix the problem.

Be Flexible

If the other person isn’t willing to work towards fixing the problem, be willing to move on. Sometimes, it’s easier that way. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to handle a bad business relationship depends on the specifics of each situation. However, if the other person isn’t willing to work towards fixing the problem, be willing to move on.

Sometimes, it’s easier that way.? If you can put your ego aside and focus on resolving the issue at hand, chances are you’ll get closer to a resolution than if you continue to fight. Ultimately, it’s important that both parties come out of a bad business relationship feeling like they got some valuable stuff done.

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How Do You End a Bad Business Relationship

When it comes to ending a bad business relationship, there are a few options available. Mediation is one option, as it allows the two parties to work towards a resolution without conflict. Arbitration can also help end a dispute, as the arbitrator will get involved and decide what the best solution is for both parties. Negotiation is another route to take, as it helps determine an equitable solution that both sides can agree on. If negotiations fail, confrontation may be necessary in order to get results. Finally, if all other options have failed, separation may be the best option for both parties involved. Ending a bad business relationship can be difficult, but with the right approach, it can be done successfully.

Consequences of Ending a Bad Business Relationship

The consequences of ending a bad business relationship can be devastating. These include: 1) loss of trust 2) loss of revenue 3) loss of customers 4) loss of goodwill 5) loss of reputation 6) loss of time and energy

When you have a bad business relationship, it can be difficult to move on. This is because ending the relationship can feel like a betrayal. It can also be very damaging in terms of lost revenue, customers, goodwill, and reputation. In fact, ending a bad business relationship can take a lot of time and energy, which is why it is important to avoid them in the first place.

More Reasons to End a Bad Business Relationship

  • You’re Suffering from Scope Creep – When you started with the client, you had well-defined responsibilities which you’ve allowed to get out of control. You’re now doing work far outside of your niche and you don’t enjoy it. You’re not being paid enough to outsource, and you’re starting to feel resentful.
  • They Make Unreasonable Demands – Remember that what is unreasonable to you is reasonable to them, so it’s best not to confront them on this behavior but rather try to set limits. If you try to set limits and they won’t let you, it may be time to end the relationship because you are a bad fit.
  • They Keep Trying to Make You Reduce Your Rates – Anyone who agrees on a rate then keeps trying to talk you down, doesn’t respect your business. They may even think of you as an employee or a liability instead of a partner in their business, which may cause them to feel resentful of paying you at all. If the issue of pay comes up a lot, it may be a good idea to move on.
  • They Are Slow Payers – Any client who won’t pay on time on a consistent basis is a liability to your business and your cash flow. As a service provider, you need to get paid for the work you do on time. If you have an agreement to get paid in a certain way, you should get paid. Give your client a warning and set a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” Rule.
  • They Don’t Listen – When a client hires you as an expert in your niche but they will not listen to anything you have to contribute, yet they still want you to be responsible for ROI, you have a serious problem that has to be fixed. If you cannot fix it, let them go.
  • They Are Unresponsive – If you ask for information and they won’t ever give it to you or are often late with the information, and it affects how you perform your duties, it may be best to let the client go. Their unresponsiveness can ruin your schedule and affect not only the work you do for them but also the work you do for others.
  • They Are Disrespectful – You know when someone shows you contempt or disrespect. You are a business owner now and you don’t need to put up with any of that. When you feel as if someone is disrespecting you, ask them if they’re saying what you think they are saying so that they can clarify. If they are being disrespectful, it’s time to part ways.

The Best Ways to End the Business Relationship

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  • Look at Your Contract – Check the contract to see what the rules and methods of ending the relationship are and stick to that.
  • Keep It Business Related – Even though sometimes ending a client relationship feels personal, it’s best if you don’t get personal but keep it all business. Only address business things in your notice. Don’t get personal. If you must be vague rather than giving details, remember to keep it professional.
  • Give Notice – In most cases, it’s best to give notice according to the contract. Usually, you can safely give a month’s notice, which is longer than a typical employee relationship because it may take them time to find a replacement. But, if the relationship is contentious, you may try to end it sooner.
  • Refund Money, If Applicable – If you work on a retainer, be sure to refund any part of the money you’ve not yet earned. Even if your contract says you will not offer refunds, it’s better to do that as you’ll leave on a higher note.

The Rundown

Ending a relationship is never easy, but once you do let go of clients who aren’t ideal, you’re going to free up space to attract your ideal clients. Plus, once it’s over you’re going to feel so much better about your business and yourself.

It's important to have a good business relationship. But if the relationship is not sustainable, it's likely to end in disaster. A good business relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. If either party cannot maintain those levels of trust and respect, the relationship is likely to crumble.

Ending a bad business relationship the right way is important. By following these steps, you can end your relationship in a way that is beneficial to all involved. What steps do you take to end a bad business relationship? We’d love to hear from you. Drop your perspectives in the comments!

Ready to collaborate and build a strong, mutual relationship?

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Charlene Brown,
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Through my A.M.P. Your Strategy Method™ my clients walk away with brand & site clarity for intentional direction so they take immediate action.
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