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What to do if you and your business partner have a dispute

No one likes to argue, but it is a natural part of growth in our lives. When a dispute arises in a business partnership, it can create stress on the wellbeing and livelihood of your organization. Although managing your business can feel all-consuming at times, conflict can be a source of positive change.

When an argument arises that could change the direction of your business, will you know how to handle it? Understanding how to resolve conflict is important to finding the best path forward for the future of your business.

Here are three tips to resolving disputes with a business partner:

1. Reset goals and objectives.

Conflict could arise when one partner feels disillusioned with the business' goals and objectives. If you can't remember the last time you and your partner had an open and honest conversation about the direction of your company, now may be the time to talk.

Goals can be the abstract "pie in the sky" ideas you have for your organization. Meanwhile, your objectives should be the easily quantifiable day-to-day tasks you must accomplish to reach a loftier goal.

2. Seek alternative dispute resolution.

Since its introduction to the business and legal world in the early 1990s, ADR has gained acceptance as a viable form of dispute resolution without litigation. At the time it was introduced, businesses were spending $20 billion per year on litigation, and that amount is likely higher today.

Like litigation, ADR is still adversarial in nature, but there is a degree of mutual consent because parties can set some of their own rules for the process. ADR's flexibility can settle past disagreements and formulate a plan for the future.

3. Litigation

Litigation is often the last resort, but it can offer concrete solutions to your business dispute, especially if the conflict has gone from disagreements about goals and objectives to questions of ethics and the law.

When considering litigation, be sure to obtain an independent business valuation, so you know where you stand at the present when considering future actions. Finally, it is important to hire a law firm that specializes in business and contract law to ensure that you have the best representation on your side.

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