What To Say: The Right Way to Cut Business Ties

What To Say: The Right Way to Cut Business Ties

Breakups are rough, especially when it involves your career. They’re often tense, uncomfortable and even emotional if not handled properly. With anything in life though, nuanced communication can soothe the blow and make the separation less painful than it has to be. Supplying a clear, direct and supported explanation for why the business relationship has to end ALWAYS beats evasion tactics and passive aggression. As we all know, your network is your net worth and the economy is too d-mn bad to burn bridges unnecessarily. Here are a few examples of what can be said to cut professional ties the right way:


1. When the money is funny.

Whether you’re working for yourself as a full time entrepreneur or a part time freelancer, you’ve felt the pain of chasing a check that’s owed to you by a client. Worst. Feeling. Ever. In an ideal world, your client would honor that spiffy policy you made them sign before rendering your services and just pay you by the deadline, but life isn’t fair, so yeah. How do you handle a split from a chronic late payer? Try something like this (preferably in email in an effort to keep a paper trail):

“While I appreciate our time working together and value our partnership, the inconsistent payment timeline you’ve established impedes my ability to provide superior service. I/We can not subscribe to that type of financial model, so regretfully, our relationship has to end.” 


2. When they require too much handholding and you ain’t got time for that.

We’ve all asked ourselves one time or another ‘how did this person get this job? Imagine working closely with this person and having to deal with their high level of incompetence on a daily. Yeah, that’s not good. Here’s how to handle that separation:

“Unfortunately, after evaluating the amount of time, effort and high skill level you need for to meet the goals we’ve set, I don’t think it aligns with my workload and timeline. Perhaps we can work on a different project together in the near future, though?  

This lets them know that it’s not you, it’s them in the gentlest way possible – but also keeps the door open for other opportunities that they can actually do well. Maybe.


3. When you’re working with a friend and it’s just not working anymore.

Who wouldn’t love to get money with your compadres? But what happens when your pal’s work ethic and/or skill set isn’t where you need it to be? Try this:

“Because of these specific reasons (list them), it’s in our best interest to end our business relationship. HOWEVER, this, in no way impacts the way I view our friendship. I hope you feel the same.” 

After breaking the news to them, immediately take them to Chipotle or something. Burritos always make things better.


MADE by Jasmine Browley

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