Going into business with someone else can be exciting and rewarding. Running a company with a close friend or like-minded business partner can be more fun and dynamic than doing it on your own. However, disagreements do arise, no matter how well you work together. A business dispute can quickly become bitter and costly.
Disagreements are inevitable, but you can resolve them quickly and effectively if you do it right. Here are some tips for resolving a partnership dispute and protecting your business from irreversible damage.
1. Focus on solutions
If you and your business partner disagree on something crucial to the operation of your business, set aside time to discuss it. Talking about a disagreement in the middle of a stressful workday can be unproductive and difficult. You should find a specific time to have a calm conversation without distractions. When you have this conversation, try your best to focus on solutions rather than the dilemma.
2. Consider mediation
Sometimes disputes are not able to be solved by a conversation. Whether you two are unable to see eye to eye or the problem is too complex, you might think about hiring a neutral third party to help you resolve the conflict. A mediator may be able to help you reach a solution that is voluntary, sustainable and non-binding.
3. Consult an attorney
Unfortunately, you may still be unable to resolve your disagreement. If you see your dispute heading toward an ugly outcome, you might consider pursuing litigation. A business lawyer can help you know your rights and obligations to your partnership. An attorney can also advise you on whether you can terminate your partner from the business or if you should follow certain protocols.
Running a business can be complicated and stressful. Sometimes the ugliest arguments can occur with someone you trust. If you follow these three steps and more dispute resolution tips from Harvard Law School, you can find your way out.