If you don’t have a controlling say in your bylaws, can’t find another partner or obtain a working capital loan on your own and find you do have to get out the business through a buy/sell to the bad business partner leaving you essentially nothing, don’t believe for a second that you’re washed up an entrepreneur.
Before you give up and find that day job you used to be good at, start by making a list of what you did right and what you did wrong. Be honest and realistic in your list. Were you steadfast enough? Did you allow the bad business partner to overpower your decisions? Did you have an idea that really worked? Think of your name and your customer base; how well did your customers like you? Did they ask for you specifically? Often, the good business partner (you) is the one your customers trust and want to see.
For example, I owned a business where I had no choice but to walk away and allow the sly business partner to take it over but that didn’t mean I was done. My good name and commitment to my customers and my community made it possible for me to open a competing business and my customers followed me and were not loyal to my former partner.
Once you have that list of your best attributes as an entrepreneur, you need to sell yourself; whether it’s to a business partner you’ve done your research on or a lender that is well-known for approving loans. Call the Small Business Association in your area and make an appointment. Be honest with the representative and have a great business plan along with tax returns and forecasted financials. Include a bio of your entrepreneurial skills including achievements and community involvement. Show proof on how you will be able to repay the loan if you are granted one.
Let the SBA representative help you find a lender that will loan you money based on what you know you can accomplish. Be prepared to find a lender that isn’t within your community. In these days, it’s nice to buy and do business locally, but in this situation sometimes you just can’t.
Almost every state has some sort of small business or business development center that works with the SBA and other organizations such as SCORE that can help you regain your entrepreneurial status.
Finally, read my tips on Motivating Young Entrepreneurs. Although you may be old hat in the business owner world, you’ll find tips on how to step over every stumbling block in your path; especially when dealing with, buying out, or ridding yourself of a bad business partner; and to be sure, you won’t make the same mistakes again.