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How to handle conflict with a business partner

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Business Law, Entrepreneurial Law |

Working with a business partner can be challenging. While the ideal situation would be to have a business partner who is equally committed to the business, shares the same vision, and has similar ways of doing things, that is not always the case.

Sometimes things go differently than planned, and disagreements, misunderstandings, and problems arise. This isn’t easy on many levels because business partners usually have a personal connection, but it can also jeopardize the business partnership or even the business.

Dealing with problems with a business partner does not have to be a scary, difficult task. You can strategically find a way to approach the issues together.

Solving the problem

The first step is always identifying the issue. This can be more complex than you think because it can take some time to determine the underlying problem. For example, a business partner can be blinded by anger and, at least then, be unable to objectively see that the real problem is not what they are feeling.

Some questions that help in identifying what an issue truly is are:

  • Was there a miscommunication?
  • What is the true intent of the parties?
  • Is there a difference of opinion?
  • Was there a violation of the partnership agreement?

Understanding the root cause of the problem is the first step in solving it. Once you know the problem, you can create the structure for an open and effective conversation. If you and your business partner are prone to becoming angry quickly, be honest with yourself and bring a neutral third party to help mediate the matter, or at least provide structure and moderate the conversation so you can hear the other side and the other side can listen to you.

Issues with the partnership agreement

If the matter still needs to be solved after that, look at the partnership agreement. Is there any part of the agreement that is ambiguous? Are there questions about what certain words or things mean?

If it is clear that there is a breach of the agreement, address it immediately and take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. This should not be an issue if both partners want to continue the business partnership.

Ending the partnership

In some cases, ending the partnership is the best option. If either party refuses to cooperate or wants out of the partnership, prioritize the business’s success over personal relationships. If needed, seek help to understand how best to dissolve the partnership.

Handling problems with a business partner can be challenging, but it does not have to scare you away from dealing with them. It is essential to tackle problems as they arise so they do not grow and become more significant issues.