In the series My worst crisiss around the world share some of the toughest experiences building their business and how they overcame them.
On June 13, 2016 at 3 a.m. I sat on the bed completely desperate and nervous. The toughest conversation of my life It was scheduled for 9 a.m. and after that I wanted to fire my partner, CEO and best friend of the company, Rumpl, that we had built together.
We started the business in January 2014 with the idea of making cozy blankets that look like sleeping bags but are more comfortable, durable and less intrusive than comforters. We achieved quick wins and raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars Kickstarter. Our product received praise from our early customers, which resulted in partnerships with various premium retail channels and strong direct sales.
Two years later, Rumpl was still growing rapidly, but my relationship with my business partner had stalled. Our vision of the company was seriously misaligned: I wanted to grow strategically, perfect one product before launching another, while he tried to expand into new categories quickly. On several occasions, our staff approached me with concerns about his leadership. As a result, my partner and I try to be on the same page. We’d had meetings, camping trips, late-night conversations over a bottle of whiskey, but it seemed like our differences had become insurmountable. It was obvious that one of us had to leave to continue business.
Several mentors gave me advice on how best to have the conversation with him, but I was extremely nervous. I even googled “how to break up with a partner” and went through endless forums looking for tips. But what happened that day was a friendly and effective conversation that resulted in a quick end to a toxic association.
There were a number of steps that eventually made the conversation a success. Besides having the support of our team and obsessively rehearsing every word he wanted to say, he was prepared. I consulted with an outside legal advisor (since the lawyers in our firm worked for the entire company, which included my co-founder) and selected a public space to talk to.
I made him an offer of separation, but made it clear that I was ready to negotiate. I gave him a million shares and offered him an advisory role that would really serve both of us. After all, he helped build the brand and earned the opportunity to offer input and ideas if he wanted.
After our conversation, I went back to the office alone, informed the team of the change, and we all had a shot of whiskey at 11am. We took a day off to regroup, but then we quickly started working with our new structure. After a month we were already growing more than twice as fast as before. This year we’ve grown 170 percent.
My friend is better too. Rumpl’s brand was based on the idea of travel and a passion for it, and this inspired him: he traveled around South America in a van and shared his adventures on his podcast. Bike path far. Our friendship is pretty good; We don’t talk much because he keeps traveling Chile and Mexico and at music festivals, but overall we’re fine. We have helped each other in different ways and will continue to do so. Saying goodbye to him professionally was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but it made me so much stronger. It was the first time I had put the company before my personal interests, and the results showed me that I must always prioritize my business.