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10 Ways to Resolve A Dispute Between You And Your Business Partner

jean pierre fumey

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Running a business with a partner can be immensely rewarding and great to have someone to bounce off and share the load of things that need to take place with growing and running a business, but it’s not always smooth sailing. Disagreements are almost bound to happen, and handling them efficiently is crucial for the success of your venture.

In this guide, we’ll explore 10 tings you can do to resolve disputes with your business partner. Let’s ensure your partnership stays strong and prosperous.

First, what is a partnership dispute?

When business partners disagree with each other and it threatens the business’s ability to run smoothly and peacefully, this is called a partnership dispute or a partnership argument.

Here are some common causes of business disputes:

  • Financial matters often lead to disputes among business partners due to uneven capital contributions, differing spending priorities, or lack of financial transparency.
  • Conflicts may arise from differing management styles, such as proactive versus strategic approaches.
  • A unified vision for the company’s future is crucial for a successful partnership. Disagreements about the direction, growth, or long-term goals can cause conflict, which can be mitigated through regular strategic planning and open communication about each partner’s vision, avoiding issues before they escalate.

Recognising these early signs is vital to proactively address issues before they escalate.

10 ways to resolve a business dispute

  1. Open and honest communication

Open and honest communication is the bedrock of a successful partnership. This strategy involves more than just periodic check-ins; it requires creating an environment where both partners feel genuinely heard.

Encourage active listening, and be open to constructive criticism. Utilise various communication channels, such as regular meetings, emails, and collaborative project management tools, to ensure that concerns, goals, and expectations are transparently communicated.

  1. Define Roles and Responsibilities

Defining roles and responsibilities is not just about job titles; it’s about creating a roadmap for each partner’s contributions. Take the time to discuss and document individual strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

This clarity not only prevents conflicts stemming from overlapping duties but also fosters a more efficient and collaborative workflow. Regularly revisit and update these role definitions to accommodate the evolving needs of the business.

  1. Seek mediation

When disagreements arise, consider professional mediation as an effective resolution strategy. A neutral third party brings objectivity to the table, helping partners navigate through emotions and find common ground.

Mediation is not only a cost-effective alternative to litigation but also a confidential process that allows for open dialogue. Look for experienced mediators with a background in business partnerships to ensure tailored and effective conflict resolution.

  1. Consult a dispute resolution lawyer

In cases where disputes become legally complex, consulting a dispute resolution lawyer is a prudent step. These lawyers specialise in navigating the legal intricacies of partnership conflicts.

From providing guidance on contractual obligations to representing your interests in negotiations, a dispute resolution lawyer ensures that your partnership remains within the bounds of the law.

  1. Implement a dispute resolution clause

When drafting your partnership agreement, don’t overlook the importance of a well-defined dispute resolution clause. This clause serves as a roadmap for resolving conflicts, clearly outlining the steps to be taken when disputes arise.

It can include provisions for mediation, arbitration, or other agreed-upon methods. Having a predefined process in place streamlines conflict resolution, minimising the potential for disputes to escalate.

  1. Explore alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration or collaborative law offer flexible and efficient alternatives to traditional litigation.

Arbitration, for instance, provides a structured process where an impartial arbitrator makes a binding decision. Collaborative law emphasises cooperation, allowing both parties to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Explore these options to find an approach that aligns with your partnership’s values and goals.

  1. Focus on the Future

Shifting the focus to the future involves more than just letting go of past conflicts. Collaboratively setting new goals and working towards shared objectives revitalises the partnership.

Conduct strategic planning sessions that align with your long-term vision, emphasising the strengths of each partner. This forward-looking approach not only helps overcome past grievances but also strengthens the foundation for future collaboration.

  1. Consider a partnership or shareholders’ agreement

A partnership or shareholders’ agreement is not just a legal safeguard; it’s a proactive measure to address potential disputes. Also, clearly outlining the terms under which a partner can sell their share of the business provides a predetermined exit strategy.

This agreement not only simplifies the process of parting ways but also ensures that the departure is amicable and follows agreed-upon procedures.

  1. Take a break

Recognising when tensions are running high and taking a temporary break can be a strategic move. Stepping back allows both partners to gain perspective and approach the issue with a clearer mind. During this break, encourage open communication about individual concerns and expectations.

This breathing space prevents hasty decisions and provides the necessary time for reflection and introspection.

  1. Learn from the experience

Every dispute is an opportunity for growth. Reflecting on the root causes of the disagreement requires a proactive and introspective approach.

Implement strategies to prevent similar issues in the future, such as refining communication protocols or adjusting roles and responsibilities. By turning challenges into learning experiences, you not only resolve the current dispute but also fortify your partnership against future conflicts.

Key Takeaways

There will always be disagreements in the fast-paced world of business relationships.

Remember, a resilient partnership is built on effective communication, clear expectations, and a commitment to finding common ground and an ability to resolve conflicts between the partners which are surely going to happen.

Jean-Pierre is a polyglot communication specialist, freelance journalist, and writer for startup.info with over two decades of experience in media and public relations. He creates engaging content, manages communication campaigns, and attends conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. He brings his wealth of experience and expertise to provide insightful analysis and engaging content for startup.info's audience.

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