Business partners will occasionally disagree. You can take steps to minimize the possibility of a dispute by creating a partnership agreement that clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of you and your partners. However, no precautions are entirely foolproof. If you and your partners are embroiled in a disagreement, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. Here are four tips for helping you achieve a swift resolution to your business dispute.
1. Review your partnership agreement for guidance
If you have a written partnership agreement, it may directly address the underlying cause of the dispute. You can point out the relevant language to your partner and how it pertains to the issue at hand. In many cases, this is all it takes to provide clarity, enabling you and your partner to put the matter behind you.
2. Maintain an even keel
Any argument has the potential to get heated. However, it’s always best to keep your emotions in check. This can be easier said than done if you believe your partner is hurting your business. Nonetheless, refrain from jumping to conclusions and try to see things from your partner’s point of view. Things said in the heat of the moment can result in lasting damage to your business relationship, even if you’re able to move beyond the immediate dispute.
3. Listen to one another
When you’re shouting over each other, no one is going to be able to get their point across. Sit down and agree to listen to one another. Avoid the temptation to interrupt. By taking the time to hear each other’s stories, you may both gain some insight into how the disagreement began and the best way for you to move forward.
4. Consider mediation
Sometimes, things seem insurmountable. If it proves impossible to discuss issues without having things devolve into an argument, it may be time to seek professional help. The use of a mediator can help ensure that things stay on track while avoiding the escalation of emotions.
Partnership disputes are not the end of the world
People disagree. There’s no need for a dispute between business partners to go nuclear. An essential component of a good business partnership is a willingness to negotiate and to compromise when necessary. However, if it appears there’s simply no visible path forward, you should discuss your options with a skilled legal professional.