After all the hard work that goes into setting up a successful business, the last thing anyone wants is for a business partner dispute to tear it all down. Managing partnership disagreements quickly and fairly is to the benefit of your company, your employees, your clients—and yourself.
Much like prenuptial agreements, the best-case scenario with business partner agreements is that you’ll never need to default to them. However, the only way to ensure smooth sailing through a business partner dispute is to write everything down in a legal and binding document. This contains, among many other things, the responsibilities of each partner, who has contributed what, and what procedures will be followed during partnership disagreements.
However, not every business venture is begun with a full legal team advising at each step of the process. Many businesses partnerships happen organically—there’s more than one multinational that started out of someone’s parents’ basement.
Ideally, even in this scenario, a lawyer will be approached before any conflicts arise. But if you haven’t put a written agreement in place before a business partner dispute surfaces, then seeking the services of mediator or lawyer can help everyone keep a level head while finding the best possible resolution. Sometimes a neutral third-party is exactly what’s needed.
While a business may come down to goods and services, accounts receivable and accounts payable—objective facts—a business partnership is just that: a partnership. When business partner disputes arise, emotions and stress and unasked for opinions are inevitable. Especially with small businesses, the health of your business can be closely tied to the health of your relationship.
Putting in structures to acknowledge and deal with partner disagreements as swiftly and painlessly as possible is valuable not just for your company’s well-being, but for that of each partner that makes it up.