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How my Best Friend and Business Partner turned into my worst Enemy

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

persistencyiskey

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Hey everyone,

For the sake of protecting myself as well as my ex-best friend/business partner, I won't be mentioning my name or his.

Let's just call him Bill.

Bill and I grew up in the same neighborhood, were best friends, etc, etc.

After college I started a business with another friend. Because Bill wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life, I let him into our new business world, and started mentoring him and teaching him everything that I had learned, and more.

Over the years, Bill became partners in a few business ventures (my partner and I would fund the ventures, and Bill would help run them and simply dedicate his time to the ventures).

At one point we found Bill lying, and trying to steal a client behind our back. My partner didn't want to work with him anymore, but since Bill was a close friend, we had multiple discussions and ultimately I let him continue working with us.

After a while the businesses weren't making Bill enough to support his lifestyle, so he went and got a job (one I helped him find, prepped him for the interview, and he ultimately was hired for, ending up with a nice fat salary in a location many would only dream of working in).

Once he began working for the company, his productivity for our businesses went south, and while selling off the final properties Bill was a part of, we had a bit of a falling out, due to Bill feeling that he was never appreciated enough, wasn't properly compensated for the effort and time he put into our ventures, etc. He also had a lot of built up anger towards my partner. He bottled up a lot of emotions over the years, and it seems like it just started all coming out.

Simply put, we stopped talking for months, but prior to the final weeks of not talking any longer, I started a new business with my partner.

Fast forward many months and one random day I was doing some research and came across a new competitor. I decided to contact their support number to get some insight into their customer support, and like a freakin 90 mph fastball to the gut, it's Bill's voice on the other end of the call.

I couldn't believe it. I was sick to my stomach, shocked, confused.

I hung up, tried to process what had happened, and had a talk with my business partner.

We knew he couldn't have done this on his own. Of course I had taught him a lot, but he just didn't have the business acumen to actually pull this off by himself.

Without getting too much into detail, our main employee (lets name him Peter) of the business had worked for us for many years, including ventures that Bill was a part of. Peter worked remotely from home, lived paycheck to paycheck and isn't a businessman whatsoever.

We found out that Bill and Peter had conspired behind our backs (starting before our falling out, so there was numerous times that I was hanging out with Bill still as good friends, or so I thought, in my own home) and Peter was feeding Bill EVERYTHING that he knew about our business, including know-how and proprietary information, from the very day we started, to where we are today.

All stemming from greed, built up hatred and stupidity. Just because you can see revenue numbers of a business doesn't mean that's what the business profits, or that it will be simple to replicate!

We gave both of them multiple chances to come clean and admit it, but they denied everything.

Peter quit, and that's pretty much that.

Although it killed me inside, I knew something had to be done about this.

And being the person I am, the last thing I want is someone hating me for the rest of their lives, or trying to do any harm to me and/or my family or my business(es). Clearly I have no idea who the real Bill is and what he is capable of doing.

What would you have done in my shoes at this point? And please don't just say "I'd sue the shit out of him"...


For further clarity

-Bill is not an immediate threat to my business (he moves slow, and doesn't know every facet of the business, and will have many hurdles to jump that he may or may not be able to get past). On the other end, if he does get past the bumps in the road, he can become a main competitor, all because he was spoon-fed my companies know-how from hundreds of hours of hard work and figuring out, plus all the money spent to get things to where they are.

-Although Bill has a nice job now, he's not super loaded, making around $100k-$125k give or take annually now

-had I not called the competitor website number, I most likely would’ve never found out that It was Bills company, or at least not for a long time, and Peter would’ve continued to feed him all of the info needed to be successful

-no contracts were ever signed, not between us and Bill or between us and Peter, we pretty much started from the ground up together and had good faith/trust in place, obviously a major learning lesson here

-Peter is definitely going to struggle to make ends meet, as without us supporting him like we have for many years, its going to be hardest for him to get back on his feet. His girlfriend also has an illness and we brought her on board years ago as well and helped support her too. She's been fully involved in this entire ordeal as well.
 
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Almantas

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Read your story from top to bottom.

What would be the 3 most important advises you would give to someone considering partnering with a close friend?
 

persistencyiskey

F the BS
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Oct 18, 2017
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Read your story from top to bottom.

What would be the 3 most important advises you would give to someone considering partnering with a close friend?

Don't do it.

If you do, prepare to lose a friend.

So ask yourself, Is it worth your friendship?


Would love to hear your answer to my question within the post that I asked, and if anyone else would be willing to share their opinion based on the story. Thanks.
 

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