When you go into business with a partner, it’s a good idea to create an operating agreement that outlines the responsibilities of both individuals. On top of this, a contract can go a long way in avoiding future disputes.
However, even if you take these steps up front, you could one day find yourself in the middle of a conflict with your business partner. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this position:
- Take a deep breath: Rather than rush to judgment by assuming that your partner did something wrong, take a step back and assess the finer details of the situation. By doing this, you may soon realize that it’s not nearly as big of a deal as you were making it out to be.
- Listen to your partner: Even if you have a lot to say, it’s critical that you also take the time to listen to your partner’s side of the story. An active listening session gives the two of you the opportunity to share your feelings, hear the other person out and make progress toward a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Get help: If just the two of you are unable to work through the conflict, don’t be shy about seeking outside help. For example, a mediator can review the details of your conflict and help negotiate a resolution. It may be the last step you take, but it’s much better than sweeping the dispute under the rug and hoping it doesn’t resurface in the future. Sometimes, another viewpoint is all it takes for the both of you to see the conflict in a different light.
A conflict with your business partner should be addressed as soon as possible. This gives you the opportunity to work through your issues before they permanently damage your relationship and/or the health of your business.
If you’ve tried everything and are still unable to make any real progress, it may be time to learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them. For example, if you feel that your partner is guilty of breaching their contract, take time to consider the next steps in the process.