Entering into a business partnership is a commitment much like a marriage. If you think that it’s going to be easy and friction-free, you’re probably in for a rude awakening. No matter how well you get along and agree on basic principles while things are going well, stress and unexpected events can lead to disagreements, and not all of them will be easily revolved. It’s important to take strong action to try to head these types of conflicts off, as well as to know how best to handle them.
The very best way to address a partnership dispute is by avoiding it in the first place and that is done by making sure that you have crafted a partnership agreement that addresses each partner’s role, duties and obligations, who has control of decisions and how they will be made, and how to handle conflict. The more effort is put into anticipating potential problems and the more detail this agreement contains, the less concern there will be when disputes arise. An experienced business attorney can ensure that this document is thorough and comprehensively protects all involved.
Of course, having an agreement doesn’t mean that you won’t still disagree. If disputes arise, make sure that you take the time to discuss the matter when you’re feeling relatively calm and when no distractions will interfere with your ability to have a constructive conversation that returns you to your sense of collaboration and partnership. It can be helpful to agree to focus on arriving at a solution to your problem rather than on how you got there, as these types of conversations often end up with fingerpointing or blame. If all parties agree at the start of the conversation that the goal of the conversation is to keep the business strong, it can help tremendously.
If you find that taking these steps does not help and you continue to disagree, it may be a good time to invite a mediator into the conversation. Mediators are neutral individuals who are specially trained to help parties in conflict to find a resolution that works for the business. Many are also attorneys or retired judges, and they are able to help you find a remedy without allowing emotion, temper, or stress to interfere.
If you find yourself in a partnership dispute and you need assistance, our experienced attorneys can help. Contact us today to set up a time for us to discuss your situation.