Business partnership disputes can be very costly and time-consuming. Plus, considering the stakes involved in business partnerships, the potential for extensive damage to business relationships and reputations is high. Thankfully, if you’re currently in the midst of a partnership dispute, there are some steps you can take to try to resolve the matter.
Understand the problem
If you’re not sure what the source of the dispute is, try to sit down with your business partner(s) and calmly discuss the situation. It’s important to be clear about what each person wants and needs from the partnership. If you can identify the problem, it will be much easier to find a resolution.
This is where an impartial third party (the mediator) will help you both communicate and try to come to an agreement. In a typical mediation session, each person will have a chance to explain their side of the story and share what they want from the resolution. They may then help facilitate a discussion so that you can both come to an agreement.
Arbitration is similar to mediation, but the arbitrator will make a binding decision about the dispute per business law. This can be a good option if you’re both struggling to come to an agreement on your own.
Both mediation and arbitration are often faster and cheaper than going to court, and they can help preserve business relationships.
Go to court
If you’ve tried mediation and arbitration but you’re still unable to resolve the dispute, your last resort is to go to court. This is usually a very costly and time-consuming process, so it’s important to exhaust all other options first. The first step to making sure your case is as strong as possible is to gather all the evidence you can. This includes things like emails, text messages, contracts and any other documentation that will support your case.
Unless you resolve the dispute and continue working together, the likely outcome is that the business partnership will dissolve. This means that you’ll have to go your separate ways and start over with new business partners. If you’ve already put a lot of time and energy into the business, this can be a difficult pill to swallow. But it’s important to remember that not every business partnership is meant to last forever. Sometimes the best thing you can do is cut your losses and move on.