Nobody wants to end up in a business dispute. They distract from your core purpose as a business person – running a viable business that gives you, your employees and your respective families their livelihoods. Business disputes are expensive and stressful for all involved. Sometimes though your business is under serious threat from your business partners, suppliers, customers or even your employees, and you just have to take decisive action.
Questions and statements then abound. What do I do next? I feel like a bunny in the headlights! What does the contract say about this mess? Where is the contract? It was just a handshake deal! Why aren’t they doing what they said they would do? It’s unfair! Where is that email that proves what I am saying? What is this going to cost me? How do I stop my customers from finding out about this? Do I need a lawyer? And so on…
For most businesses some kind of a dispute (whether big or small) is inevitable. Like all business issues, it is best to be prepared in advance. Some of our business dispute resolution tips are:
- Manage your documents – find that key contract, purchase order, invoice, or email at the click of a mouse or the pull of a filing cabinet drawer
- Compile your facts and evidence – put your documents in subject and date order – earliest to latest, highlight the parts that are most relevant, have your key witnesses write down their versions of events
- Meet with your lawyer as soon as you can – he or she will put your mind at ease, explain processes and next steps, advise you on crucial deadlines and the like
- Keep calm and remain objective – be in a good frame of mind to make decisions and try to see both sides
- Avoid thinking that “It’s a matter of principle now…” that can only be resolved in one way
- Embrace early dispute resolution methods like settlement conferences and mediation – often cheaper and less stressful than going to court
- Think of creative solutions – look for a ‘win-win’ outcome or, even better, a restored business relationship
At Everingham Solomons, we have the expertise to assist you with all issues relating to business disputes because Helping You is Our Business.
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