How to Save Your Cofounder Relationship

Marriage counselors and social workers have lots of tips on how to save a dying marriage, but there's not much out there for startup entrepreneurs and cofounders. Here are tips if you think your business relationship is unsalvageable:

Creating a business with cofounders is a lot like being married. And, like marriage, several businesses end up in divorce. Marriage counselors and social workers have lots of tips on how to save a dying marriage, but there's not much out there for startup entrepreneurs and cofounders.

Here are tips if you think your business relationship is unsalvageable:

1. Reconnect with the time when things were working. What's changed and why?

2. Take a look in the mirror before you start pointing fingers. Is the problem really about you?

3. Be honest, not hurtful.

4. Every relationship is a negotiation. Every negotiation is resolution between getting what you want and preserving a relationship.

5. Practice effective negotiation and persuasion skills. Focus on interests, not positions. Reread Getting to Yes.

6. Get help. Find executive coaches and mentors who can assist with sorting through the mess.

7. Eliminate the toxins that are poisoning the relationship—mistrust, conflicts of interests, self-dealing, etc.

8. Take a time out. Step away for however long is practical and feasible and breath.

9. Visualize what things would look like without each other and if you continue to make it work.

10. Have Plan B in case things don't work out, remembering that the world is a round small place.

Building a startup is tough. It takes sacrifice, trade-offs, and understanding with cofounders. Try to make it work and please, if things fall apart, don't take it out on the kids or the dog.