When business partners have different ideas of how things should work in their business or how to address new problems, conflicts arise. Addressing the way conflicts are dealt is a good practice right when the business starts up. Yet, many partners or business associates never set up these practices so when a struggle arises, each has a different way to attack the problem. Businesses have been destroyed by conflicts—those big and small—and your business’s survival could hinge on finding a solution.
Some of the disputes commonly experienced between business partners are:
- Problems with confidential information and protecting data
- Libel and slander between partners
- Issues between shareholders and partners
- Competition and antitrust matters
- Litigation Relative to Securities
Arguing and suing one another will not bring the solution of business disputes. Finding an amicable way to resolve disputes will help you now and as your business grows.
Here are Four Strategies for Resolving Business Disputes:
Start Communicating with Ground Rules
Yelling and shouting will only damage relationships and put up barriers to communication. Calm down and commit to being reasonable. Progress happens when both sides are heard. Dig Deep. Many times, when disputes arise in business, there is more to the problem than meets the eye. Get to what is really causing the issue rather than talking surface matters. When the real issues are unearthed, resolution through negotiation may begin.
Go Back to the Drawing Board
Every business must reflect and reposition from time to time. If a dispute has arisen, it may be time to review the entire business from end to end. When you go back to the beginning, problems business partners or associates have can be considered when retooling plans and procedures. Plans for resolving future disputes can also be added to correct conflict resolution issues in the future.
Exit Strategies: Your Way Out
If you have not discussed exit strategies or a business “prenup” with your partners before joining together to form a business, exiting becomes a stickier prospect. Working with an attorney to prepare a buy-sell agreement when you enter a business partnership agreement with anyone but especially with friends and relatives, helps pave a path for resolving matters when two business partners want different things. Like many legal agreements, a buy-sell agreement works best when it is prepared before it is ever needed.
Consider a Third-Party Conflict Resolution Process
When a dispute hits a wall and the partners or parties involved need help in resolving the problem, they may choose an alternative form of resolution rather than heading to court.
The first type of resolution is called arbitration. This is when both parties reveal their cases to a third party knowing the resulting determination is binding—both sides must comply. Certain business contracts included clauses forcing resolution through binding arbitration.
Arbitrators are typically industry lawyers or retired judges who serve at the will of the parties for a fee. A court reporter is also needed.
Mediation is another form of resolution that, unlike arbitration, is not binding. The third party hears both sides and offers solutions and works with both parties to come to an agreement on how to resolve the problem.
Your business is your livelihood and your future. Your business partner also has a significant financial stake in securing a fair, sound resolution to your dispute. Working with an experienced attorney to plan your strategy for resolving your business dispute is your step up to a successful result. Schedule your confidential consultation to begin your business dispute resolution process and learn your best options for approaching the problem. Contact our office today.