When starting a new venture, few entrepreneurs dwell on the challenges they may have with their business partner. Both parties are likely eager to get things off the ground, swept up in the optimism of new endeavors. But preparing for future disagreements, big and small, can help companies prosper in the long run.
If you’re starting or own a business with a partner, it’s important to keep in mind the conflicts that may arise. Following these tips can help you prepare for them ahead of time.
Before you and your partner launch your business, take time to detail all the potential pitfalls you may face. If you have major differences in dealing with assets, liabilities or operations, the best time to discuss them is now. By drafting a business agreement, you will have a plan to rely on for resolving these conflicts. Working with a business attorney can ease this process.
Talk things over
If troubles arise after you’ve started your business, you may not have a document in place. In this case, direct confrontation is the easiest solution, so long as you don’t let emotions get in the way. Talk with your partner about your concerns using “I” statements and take time to listen to their side of the argument. Considering their perspective may not lead you to agree with them. But it can help reduce the tension between you two and help you work toward a compromise.
In some cases, a disagreement may threaten your business. Despite many discussions, you and your partner may only find your problems increasing. One of you may feel tempted to negotiate a buyout in this case, which is a worthwhile option if conflict persists. But if there’s hope in salvaging your partnership, mediation is worth a try. If you can’t come to an agreement on your own, a neutral party may help you find ways to reconcile your differences – or at least work together amicably.