Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Business partner to-be buys without me.

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  • #1033107 Reply
    avatarJeremy
    Guest

    I spent a greater part of high school and college working at a family owned shop. I always talked to my friends about how cool it would be to run it. Well recently, after graduating, the owner expressed his disinterest in owning. I absolutely did not have the funds coming straight out of a 4-year degree, so I talked to my best friend who happens to have family ties to money. They got just as excited as me to jump on the opportunity, and we agreed to go in together.

    We seriously spent over a month writing down ideas to improve the shop, funds required, business plans, marketing… basically it all. We landed on an agreement of me getting 60% and them getting 40% of ownership just based on experience and the fact that I’ve been with the shop so long beforehand.

    Long story short the friend decided they didn’t want to ask family for money (understandable). So I slowed my pressing to buy a little bit and came up with plans over the next few months to buy alone. Took steps to increase credit, saved, and even talked with the shop owner about deals we could make that would last longer to buy. Since there is honestly no other interest from outside parties.

    A few months ago, (probably 6 months into him knowing my heavy interest) I asked the owner if he could allow me to take a % of the business and let him get a % of sales until he is paid off, while also getting sporadic money from me and a down payment beforehand. He seemed interested enough. So at this point I re-approached my friend. They were very excited that I wanted to continue to try and I still wanted their business experience to help me run it smoothly.

    The owner then stopped saying much to me about our plan. A month passed and I offered my down payment plan again, the owner drug his feet some more. At this point I was getting pretty defeated. The owner thinks I’m not qualified to run the store (I certainly am), thinks I can’t pay (also can, just not today), and he’s retiring, bored, and just done with the shop. What else can I do? He doesn’t want to sell to me. I’ll pursue a different career option if he still doesn’t give me a more reassuring answer by April (this was the beginning of March).

    I just got informed by my friend that he and the owner have signed off the shop to my friend. So he now has 100% ownership of the place, and I was left in the dark for the whole process. My friend wants to compromise by saying I can be manager and still make executive decisions and “it will be less financial risk” for me and “it’s a better deal”. But I’m just left stunned. I feel betrayed. It was a dream I cooked up for 5 or more years, got the opportunity to do it, and then it was just stollen from me. How do I tell my best friend that I don’t even want to talk to them anymore after this? I assume they think I’ll be the same pushover I always am and stick around because I like the shop. But I really can’t. I don’t know what to do!! Help!

    #1033203 Reply
    avatarLisforLeslie
    Guest

    I think the solution is actually quite simple:

    1. Get another job
    2. Leave your current job
    3. Figure out what you want to do – you may want to start up a new shop, or a different business or go back to school or learn a trade.

    Your friend and your boss screwed you. If you stay and play manager you’ll always be resentful especially if your friend is relying on you to make the store a success.

    You don’t have to drop your friend but you also don’t have to allow your friend to be a doormat.

    Your boss is a bit of an ass, but he wanted the most money and if that’s what your friend offered, he can do that.

    #1033210 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    Yeah, they both screwed you over with their lack of transparency and going behind your back, and you shouldn’t trust them. I’d cut ties.

    BUT, you know, maybe you dodged a bullet. When you try and try to make something work and it doesn’t, that usually means there’s a better plan for you, someplace else you’re supposed to be. So find out what that is. Listen for the right next steps.

    And honestly? There’s probably a reason no one else was buying that store, and the only interested buyers were a couple of relative kids. Now your friend is stuck with a business he can’t sell, that could end up being a burden financially. It’s a burden maybe he can afford since he’s got family money. But you’re free of that burden.

    #1033247 Reply
    avatarLisforLeslie
    Guest

    Sorry – I meant you don’t have to allow your friend to treat you like a doormat. Your friend sucks.

    #1033251 Reply
    avatarPeggy
    Guest

    Yeah,sorry. I would just move on, work and “friendship” wise. That person is NOT your friend.

    #1033272 Reply
    avatarJeremy (OP)
    Guest

    Thank you all. The general consensus is what I was planning anyways, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being rash. I know I’m a pushover, so it’s better for me to apply myself to something else or I’ll stick around and be spiteful. Really this has taken a weight off of my chest.

    #1033279 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    I do think there’s something better out there for you.

    #1033295 Reply
    avatarFYI
    Guest

    Don’t stick around and be spiteful. Sorry you lost a good friend over this, but I wouldn’t hang with someone who would do that. Walk away from these both of them.

    #1033308 Reply
    avatarHazel
    Participant

    Sounds like you have loyalty and commitment to an idea, somewhere the right people/opportunity will give you value for this. Whatever you loved about this one, take to the next better thing. So sorry about your friend, though- he should have kept you in the loop and you could have worked something out but he didn’t, so he loses you.He’s the one who lost out here. Shop owner just wanted his assets clear -it would have been good if he could have been more transparent but I expect he was just trying to get the best deal and move on.Good luck, I suspect you will succeed.

    #1033352 Reply
    avatarKarebear1813
    Participant

    Jeremy, what would have been your honest response if your friend came to you and said something like “I don’t want to be partners with you but I am interested in the buying the business” ?

    I don’t think you boss was being an ass or owed you transparency. He has to make the best financial decisions for only himself. I think your boss entertained your idea as an option but end the end he made what he believes to have been the right decisions for himself. He shouldnt have to disclose other offers or persons that are interested with you at all. I don’t think you should have any spite or begrudge someone for this because this is how business is done. You didn’t have the funds to buy him out, end of story.

    I wonder if your friend decided it was best not to mix business with friendship. I think your friend could have been more transparent with you but I don’t think your friend should have to explain himself and maybe that’s why they didn’t say anything. Would you have honestly pestered them about going in as partners or would you have just accepted the fact that they wanted to do this on their own.

    I also dont think you were screwed over bc, again, you never had the funds in the first place.

    #1033353 Reply
    avatarKarebear1813
    Participant

    Oh, I see where you state you are a pushover. Yeah, your friend didnt approach you because of that.

    #1033369 Reply
    avatarKate
    Keymaster

    I could buy that it was all business with the boss, but that was super shady on the part of the friend. Friends don’t do shit like that. That’s not a person you can trust going forward.

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