Betrayal in a business partnership…
Have you ever experienced betrayal in a business partnership?
Or, even a friendship?
How does it make you feel? Sad… angry… frustrated… more angry… like things are falling apart?
4 years into running what I thought was a very successful international real estate consulting business… I was dealt with a betrayal! My immediate reaction was shock! All I wanted to do was lash out and get to the bottom of what and why this happened.
Let me take you back… 2012… I had a Field Partner based in the US, he was a trusted advisor to me here in Australia. I would source real estate investment properties through him and I would provide them to Australian investors.
I also had many Australian clients, included in those clients was one that lived 30mins up the road from me and had purchased 14 investment properties. I had provided her systems and structures, contacts and intellectual property.
I had continual contact with her over 2 years… and then it went very quiet!
It was very strange considering I was hearing from her on a weekly basis.
Then one day… looking at my emails I saw an email launching a new real estate investment consulting business! I went and took a look at the website and there it was my client had teamed up with my Field Partner and went into business together to do exactly what I was doing… direct competition.
I talk about the betrayal in the video… however… I don’t talk about the conflict that pursued after feeling that my business was now falling apart!
I scrambled through my drawers to find a ‘Non-compete’ and a ‘Confidentiality’ contract that I got every client to sign before going into business with them. I checked… and there was her signature along with a witness!
I thought I would never have to use that documentation! When getting clients to sign that paperwork… I thought I would never have to pull it back out! I am sure she had forgotten she had signed it.
I got legal advice and letters were sent to ask her to ‘Cease and Desist’ and to pull down her website. She refused and did not seek legal counsel. She was representing herself.
The only way to stop her was to go down the route of a Supreme Court Injunction which was going to cost at least $20,000 at a minimum. It was then that I made the decision… you know what… I will rise above this and not go down the rabbit hole of legal representatives and legal fees.
Within weeks of that decision the property managers came to me offering to supply me houses direct. At first I was thinking can I do this on my own?
I picked up the courage and forged forward.
As a result… my business became more productive… more profitable and I had so much more control over the direction of the company.
My learning in all of this is when you feel things are falling apart… they are actually falling into place! I was so thankful that he left the business.
What I did discover was that his values were not aligned to mine. He would never have stayed anyway!