A business partnership can be a beautiful thing — as long as everything keeps humming along nicely.
Unfortunately, everything from a partner’s changing life goal to a vision of the company’s future that doesn’t jibe with your own can lead to some major conflicts. If the conflicts get ugly, you can wind up in litigation — and that’s both time-consuming and a drain on your resources.
Three ways you can handle conflicts with a business partner
A proactive approach is always best. Rather than hope you’ll never have a serious conflict, it’s smarter to assume that one will — eventually — happen. To minimize the fallout when it does:
- Review the division of labor every so often. If you’re planning to expand, changing your business model, adding new offices or anything else that changes the status quo, make sure that you have a clear division of labor and responsibilities established. That can eliminate confusion, resentment and unnecessary scraps over your turf.
- Take the time to actively listen. If your partner is upset or distressed, give them time to explain their position, vent their feelings or offer their opinion without interruption. This can help you gain more understanding of their perspective and make them feel heard — both of which can de-escalate a dispute.
- Remember why you began the partnership. What was it you valued about this person enough to make them your business partner? Is their perspective built on those same qualities? Should you listen a little harder to what they’re saying? Showing that you are willing to at least consider the idea that they may be right can ultimately make it easier to find a compromise.
If all else fails, it may be time to get some professional legal help. You can try mediation, but you should also make sure that you fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own position. Talk to an experienced attorney here in Lexington about your business dispute today.