This is a tough situation and if it’s any consolation, a fairly common one. The truth is that as a company grows, the team that was right for it at an early stage may not be the best team to handle the pressures of scale. This is my advice:
- Take one of your board members into confidence and discuss your organization structure with them.
- Separate shareholding from roles. You need to put the best person for the job in a role, and this may not be one of your co-founders. Discuss what other roles, if any, that they could be moved to.
- Understand that as a founder you have a commitment to your company, its employees and investors. You cannot sacrifice this because you do not want to have a tough conversation with your friends.
You need to make some painful decisions and the sooner you do it the better. The longer this festers, the harder it becomes for everyone.