Few business owners make it to the end of their career without facing at least one contract dispute. Yet, some are far more successful in dealing with them than others.
One of the big mistakes business owners can make is to jump straight to threatening litigation when someone lets them down. While litigation is certainly a sound option under certain circumstances, it can also do irreparable harm to the relationship in question and, in some cases, to a business’s image and prospects in the wider world. So, how should you handle a business dispute, should one arise as your company’s operations evolve?
First, you need to be sure of the facts
Take out your contract and read through it. Maybe you misremembered something and you, therefore, may discover it’s you who is wrong on this one rather than the other party. Or perhaps you might the contract has a clause that determines what steps you should take next – for example, some contracts state that mediation or arbitration should be used in case of a dispute rather than litigation.
Next, think about the long-term implications of your response
While it’s important that all involved parties comply with what was agreed to, it can sometimes pay to cut each other some slack. If your relationship is generally good, then why lose it over a small issue? Or, if it is you accused of breaching an agreement, maybe a short-term sacrifice, such as saying sorry even when it was your not fault and making some kind of nice gesture could help keep your relationship on track and lead to a bigger overall win in the long term.
If you cannot easily resolve the situation and you consider it warrants a legal approach, then be sure to get help to understand your various options and their potential consequences, good and bad. That way, you can make a truly informed decision about how to move forward.