When there only two directors – who fall out – the options are limited. Basically, someone needs to leave. And, usually, that someone will want paying to do so.
Which, as a rule, is perfectly reasonable.
We had a company whose principal tangible asset – the website – had effectively been blown apart. And the person who allowed that to happen was now asking a five-figure sum for the privilege of leaving. (Bearing in mind that our entire annual profits were about a quarter of that five-figure sum. And that only when the website was actually working…)
Negotiation seemed necessary. Especially when I still had sole ownership of the email distribution system and was the only person our clients – and our team – had been regularly dealing with. Unlike him, I’d also sunk considerable capital into the business.
The resultant wrangling lasted a full three months, and became increasingly surreal. Especially when an independent professional valuer priced the entire business at £2,000 – in its much diminished state.
To cut a (very) long story short, having exhausted every possible legal and logical argument, in January 2015 I offered my partner £3500 to go away, and 24 hours to accept the offer..
I received no answer. So I told him I’d had enough. If he wouldn’t leave – I would.
Going, going – and definitely gone…
As I had explained to him (in detail), that actually didn’t leave much of a business for him.
The distribution system didn’t belong to him and – ironically – failed a week later. (It had been at risk for some time, so this wasn’t entirely surprising. And the team who built it still wanted nothing to do with him.) Doing my best to comply with company law, I’d written to all our clients. I told them I was leaving, and further enquiries should be sent to my partner. Within a week all but one of them were back in touch with me. Because he’d said he couldn’t help them.
Most of the remaining cash in the bank was (quite reasonably) claimed back by my best friend, Mike Scott Rohan. He had invested in the business at launch and witnessed the debacle in detail. (MIke had a knack for writing somewhat potent letters…) And the team, without exception, abandoned my partner to his fate and asked if they could continue working with me..
As it happened – and not without facing major challenges – they could.
And the result was what turned out to be my last business: Mill House Media.