Going into business with a partner can prove to be a great way to work; two heads to share ideas as well as the responsibilities that come with running a company.
Unfortunately, disputes can also arise and the person who you trusted the most can quickly transform into a bitter opponent.
To avoid the partnership being irrevocably damaged, it’s essential to take swift action to resolve any disputes. This brief guide offers seven top tips to help you get your partnership back on track.
1) Keep emotions out of it
If your dispute revolves around a difference of opinion, it can feel like a personal rejection and as such, it’s easy to react emotionally.
No matter how well you may get on with your partner, you both want your business to work and disagreeing doesn’t mean you no longer value their input or opinion.
Trying to keep a calm head and focus on the facts can help you to overcome some of the hurdles you might be facing.
2) Make time for a proper discussion
If you are both hands-on, the chances are that finding time to sit down and talk things through without any distractions can be difficult.
However, trying to negotiate or reach a resolution when you have other distractions or are only half focused on the task in hand means that you are far less likely to be able to reach an agreement.
Set some time aside to listen properly to each other and resolve that you will not leave the room until you have reached a decision you are both happy to accept.
3) Put agreements in writing
If you get on very well, it can be very easy to keep things more casual and proceed on the basis of a verbal agreement.
You don’t need to go overboard but getting every agreement documented and signed off means that in the event of future disputes, you can refer back to the written agreement as a starting point.
4) Focus on the solution not the problem
If you are feeling rather irritated by a particular issue, it can be very easy to throw around blame and labour on the problems which are being caused. However understandable this may be, in the long term this is likely to fester more resentment.
Before you sit down to talk about the issue, think about what outcome you want and why and consider how you are going to present it. Rather than just an informal discussion, you might find that putting together a proper presentation will allow the subject to be properly and objectively tackled.
5) Consider bringing in a mediator
If you are both struggling to see the other person’s views it may be a good idea to bring in a mediator. A neutral individual can help both sides to present their opinions in a non-confrontational way and can result in a very different outcome.
Using an experienced mediator can help to ensure that emotions are kept out of the discussion as far as possible and that both sides get a fair chance to present their opinion.
6) Consider radical solutions
If there is no immediate solution or your vision remains resolutely different, it is worth considering whether you need to take a different approach.
Whilst your partnership may have been effective, if you no longer share the same vision for the future, it may be better to go your separate ways. Running a business where the partners are constantly in disagreement will have a detrimental effect on not just personal relationships but also the effectiveness of the company. Rather than hanging on and seeing the problems multiply, taking swift and decisive action can sometimes be best for all concerned.
7) Get legal advice
If you can’t resolve your differences and matters seem to heading towards a less than amicable outcome, getting legal help sooner rather than later could be imperative. Stopping your partner from stealing clients, damaging the business and removing assets are fundamental considerations and getting a court injunction can prevent them from destroying everything you have built up together.
Having a dispute with your partner could have significant impacts which ripple out to affect different aspects of your life, especially if you were good friends before you went into business. Resolving disputes as soon as they rear their head is essential if you want to preserve your personal relationship and the effectiveness of the business. However, if you can’t solve the dispute yourselves, getting a solicitor to help out with either mediation or as a last resort, preventing the business from being dismantled could be vitally important.
About the Author
Tollers solicitors are experts in all legal matters, they can assist if you need to challenge a will. Their friendly team will be happy to assist in all business and personal legal services.