Beliefs & Practices, Live like brothers Deal like strangers / Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Often several brothers are partners in the same business. At times the father and sons are in the business together. Without any records being kept, all the “partners” take their expenses from the business and spend as they wish. However, the position of each person in the business is not clearly determined. For example, is the son or brother merely an employee in the business, or is he a partner? If he is an employee, what is his salary? If he is a partner, what is his percentage share of the profits? Without any of these aspects being clarified, each one draws from the business as pleases. If anyone dares to suggest that these aspects need to be clarified, his suggestion is frowned upon. This suggestion is regarded as contrary to the dictates of mutual love and unity.

However, experience has proved time and again that the end result of such businesses is that it breeds contempt and enmity in the hearts. Especially if a wedding takes place in the family of one of the partners, the other partner feels that his rights are being trampled upon since his associate has taken much more from the business than what he was entitled to. While on the surface a front of love and unity is displayed, from within the flames of ill-feelings are kindled. Eventually when these ill-feelings become coupled with suspicions, the “partnership” explodes like an angry volcano and all the claims of love and unity are left bare. Arguments, verbal abuse and costly court cases become the order of the day. Brothers stop talking to each other. Rather they cannot even bear to look at one another. As for the business, properties each person grabs whatever he can. Justice and fair dealing become the first victims in this entire saga. The matter then goes further with each partner criticizing and belittling the other among his circle of friends.

Besides the above, since this “partnership” ran for years without any proper agreement, nor were proper records of the personal drawings and other expenses maintained, it becomes almost impossible to find an amicable solution which is agreeable to all the partners. All this chaos ensued as a result of not treating a business matter strictly in a formal manner from the very inception of the business, or at the time of a new partner joining the business. If each person’s position in the business was established from the very inception, his rights and duties were spelt out and all the details were recorded in a partnership agreement, the possibility of such problems and complications occurring would have been uprooted from the beginning.

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