How Business Partners Can Avoid Falling Out Like Phil & Holly

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have enjoyed a lengthy business relationship and friendship, spending every weekday morning on the This Morning sofa, co-hosting programmes and attending celebrity events together as one of ITV’s favourite duos.

However, according to the press, this relationship has turned sour recently. The rumour mill is turning with multiple scandals and reasons why the once cheery pair may have fallen out. The result is Phillip Schofield stepping down from his co-presenting role on ITV’s This Morning after spending 20 years on the popular daytime TV show.

It is quite common for friends to enter into a business partnership together, or for partners in the workplace to form friendships, however this does come with pitfalls to be wary of.

In this blog, our Business Law Team at Lamb Brooks share some ideas on how a working relationship can be protected and how best to handle a fallout, should one occur.


Communication is Key

Good communication is often the ingredient to success with any type of relationship – whether it is a friendship, a marriage, between colleagues, clients or business partners.

Communicating well throughout the business relationship (when times are good, when times are bad and everything in between) will really help you to have a strong, reliable partnership.

Good communication doesn’t just mean speaking regularly and holding board meetings. It means;

  • Having open and honest conversations
  • Having difficult conversations when they need to be had
  • Listening to each other
  • Removing emotions from disputes
  • Not ignoring problems or concerns
  • Giving each other space when needed
  • Working together towards a common goal
  • Being honest
  • Not speaking over each other
  • Avoid raising voices or using hurtful language
  • Think before speaking in an argument or debate
  • Being mindful of your body language
  • Being aware of personal situations


Formalise Your Agreements

There is a misconception that friends or family could never fall out over business – especially if that have been friends for a long time or share the same passions for the business. But unfortunately, things change, people’s opinions differ and often business partners will butt heads at some point in the business relationship.

Major problems occur when friends or family members go into business without considering the potential pitfalls and what should happen if a fallout arises.

This is why it is crucial to have proper legalised documents in place to protect your interest and also the interests of the business. There are a few different measures that you could put into place with the help of Lamb Brooks in anticipation of disputes, including;

  • Shareholders or partnership Agreements
  • Articles of Association
  • Robust employment contracts
  • Director service agreements

You could also implement a director’s or partner’s charter that clearly sets out the behaviour expectations, operate a clear policy on how disputes are dealt with – for example, a procedure to follow or mediation to be attended. You should also have a clear exit strategy should the relationship turn sour and one of more key people need to leave the business.

How Business Partners Can Avoid Falling Out Like Holly and Phil

Handling a Director Dispute

Boardroom disputes are one of the biggest threats to businesses. If not handled correctly, the effects of the dispute can spill out of the boardroom and throughout the entire business.

Issues between shareholders or business partners can arise due to a number of reasons. Whether it is a financial dispute, a disagreement about the business future or strategy, a conflict of interest or a personality clash. Disputes stop the business from running as smoothly as it should and can also impact staff morale, the stress levels and the mental health of those involved.

It is vital not to bury your head in the sand if disagreements continue between you or your business partner.

Seeking early legal advice will help to ensure that you follow the correct process for resolving the dispute or for paving the way for a business partner to step away with minimum disruption.


Get In Touch Today

Director issues can be complicated, but you needn’t worry about the legal fall out if you take considered advice from experts.

Our team at Lamb Brooks are experienced advisers to numerous business partners, from small enterprises and start-up to larger corporations, organisations and charities.

We can assist with;

  • Partnership and Shareholder Agreements
  • Director Service Agreements
  • Restructuring of a business
  • Removal of business directors
  • Resolution of director disputes
  • Mediation and/or arbitration
  • Restrictive covenants and protecting business interests
  • Disciplinaries and grievances with directors and/or business partners
  • Severance packages and exit agreements
  • Independent legal advice

For more information or to speak to someone today to help find a way forward from an ongoing dispute or issue between a business partner, please contact us on 01256 844888. Alternatively you can email us at, complete an enquiry form online or speak to our online chat assistant (who is a real person, not a robot) via our website.

We hope to help you resolve stressful issues within your business partnership and help protect your business from any dispute backlashes.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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© Lamb Brooks is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - SRA No 559661. Lamb Brooks LLP (registered at Companies House OC363909) whose registered office address is: Victoria House, 39 Winchester Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 7EQ