Working with a business partner can be great and often one person can complement the other, such as a more creative person working off someone with more of a head for figures. Unfortunately, however, sometimes disagreements can occur and in the most serious cases this can result in legal disputes. In this article, we are going to look at how to settle a legal dispute with a business partner so that you can both effectively move on.
Have a written agreement in place
Before going into business there should be a written agreement that you both sign – it doesn’t matter if you have known your partner for years if something goes wrong you need something that you can refer to. If you don’t have this then there has to be a process of mediation.
Focus on the solution
It is easy to point fingers and say who is to blame for what aspect of the business has gone wrong. However, what you need to do is look at a way of resolving it, for instance, if your partner wants to leave the business then you need to find a way to negotiate an exit, possibly by buying them out.
By refocusing on what is best for the business and how you can do so in a way that balances out both your interests this should make the process a bit more amicable. If you don’t feel confident doing this yourself then it may be better to get a legal representative in as a neutral mediator to help facilitate this.
Don’t fight fire with fire
You may feel that your partner has been poaching your customers, stealing assets or otherwise not behaving in an ethical manner. While it is not easy, it is vital that you remain calm and find a way to address this in a professional manner. Most of all you need to stick to the facts and what can be proven.
With a legal team behind you it should be possible to prove if they have done anything illegal. With regard to poaching clients this is more unethical than illegal. In fact, it would be more positive to focus on contacting and retaining clients rather than worry about what your partner is doing.
The crucial thing is to not try to retaliate – responding by intimidation, threats of violence or revenge is not a positive response and will more than likely get you in trouble.
This is why it is better to try and seek a solution earlier on in the process rather than letting it get to this point.
As with a divorce proving who owns what when a partner wants to separate from a business can be complicated. This is why it is vital to use the services of a legal representative who is both experienced but equally is sympathetic to your situation.
At Larcomes we have specialists who not only have the resources and the legal knowledge you need but can also guide you through a potentially tricky situation and work to find the best possible solution. For more information or to discuss your particular situation in more detail please contact us today.