Running a business is no easy task, especially when you and your partner do not see eye-to-eye. A partnership dispute can have a great impact on you both professionally and personally. When a partnership turns sour, it may devolve into nasty fights and courtroom litigation.
Thankfully, there are tools at your disposal to prevent and resolve these situations. Here are a few guidelines to avoid irrevocable damage to your partnership.
Have a written agreement in place
The most effective way to stop partnership disputes from hurting your business is through prevention. A core preventive tactic is to create a written agreement. A solid partnership or operating agreement should address the following questions:
- What is each partner’s role?
- How much control does each partner have?
- What are the obligations and duties of each partner?
- What happens during a conflict?
- When can a partner withdraw or be removed?
- Under what circumstances can the partnership end?
You and your partner should develop a legally binding agreement that is unique to the particular concerns of your partnership. Avoid using a DIY document that you find online as it will likely not address important details and may not hold up in court.
Focus on solutions instead of the problem
When an issue comes up, make sure to set up a time to have a conversation about it. Try to steer the discussion toward a resolution instead of simply arguing about the problem. If you blame and fight, it will only cause further irritation. Talk about the outcome you desire and what is best for the company.
Consider legal solutions
Sometimes, it is difficult to come up with a solution with your partner. If you and your partner are unable to resolve your differences, you may need to seek advice regarding contract reviews or litigation. It may be necessary to take the issue to court if things are looking ugly.