These times may be challenging and may lead to more business disputes than usual. If you encounter a major dispute with your business partner that may jeopardize the future of your business, consider these five things:
1. Try to Avoid Conflict by Planning Ahead of Time
Many conflicts can be avoided by planning. Having a clear business partnership agreement in place can help avoid common disputes regarding responsibilities, monetary commitments, and managing the business. This agreement can cover a broad range of issues, including:
Putting a partnership agreement in place can also include plans on how to resolve your dispute. Consult your agreement to see if you included terms regarding these issues.
2. Try to Resolve the Problem Internally
Before taking more aggressive action, try to first resolve the problem internally. Try to objectively listen to your business partner’s complaint and see if two of you can try to find solutions to the problem. Many business disputes are caused by misunderstanding or confusion. Try to clear up any such misunderstandings. This may help you resolve the problem much more quickly and easily.
3. Try to See the Other Side
It can be a very healing process for you to try to put yourself in the other party’s shoes and truly try to understand their position. Remember that you are in business with this person for a reason. You likely have a long relationship that you would prefer to maintain, if possible. Give the person the benefit of the doubt and do not rush to judgment. Try to understand your partner’s position and reflect this to them so they know you are listening and that you care, which may be just what you need to resolve the problem.
4. Do Not Wait Too Long to Resolve the Issue
Sometimes if there is too much delay between when a business problem arise and when it eventually resolves, this can negatively impact the business relationship and make an amicable solution more difficult to reach. Over time, parties may cement their footing in a particular situation and may become inflexible about certain resolutions of their legal issue.
5. Consider Mediation
Partnership mediation is a process in which a business mediator meets with the parties in person or virtually and guides them through a negotiated settlement of a legal issue. Business mediation is usually much less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation. Business dispute mediation is also a confidential process, so the parties are able to resolve their issue without airing their grievances in a public forum.