In part 1, I discussed the importance of knowing how to negotiate business deals and mitigate conflict whenever possible. Besides being a financial drain, business disputes can also create conflicts that require precious time and energy to resolve. Setting clear boundaries and realistic expectations when making professional agreements is essential in setting yourself up for positive outcomes.
Although avoiding conflict is preferred in professional matters, it is imperative to be prepared to handle business disputes properly when the need arises. Following these valuable tips will increase your chances of a positive outcome when business disputes must be settled.
Clarify the Actual Dispute: Ensure you understand what the desired outcome the other party seeks for resolution. It is equally important to clarify your own desired outcome. It can be challenging to see what’s actually going on when emotions are high. Speak with a trusted advisor to help you get clarity.
Offers Without Prejudice: Once you are in the dispute resolution process, be mindful when making offers for resolution. Ensure that you state that your offer is “without prejudice” and with no admission of guilt, so that if you do end up having to go to court, the offer cannot prejudice your case.
Use Alternative Dispute Resolution Models: Going to court is a lose/lose scenario for everyone involved. Be sure you have mediation and arbitration provisions built into every agreement you sign. Resolve matters outside of court, whenever possible.
Don’t Rely Solely on Your Legal Rights: If you want to avoid going to court—and it’s usually in your best interest to do so— put a good faith effort into finding a mutually beneficial solution on which to agree while still invoking your rights. I can help you with that as we focus on finding resolve in every conflict, by seeking to identify where the respective parties’ needs can be met and matched up as part of your conflict resolution process.
Watch Your Wording: Settlement offers can be complicated. The way an agreement is worded or structured can affect the outcome, especially if that outcome is a financial judgment. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions in any settlement offer. And never make a settlement offer without having me strategize and review the wording with you first.
Most importantly, get legal advice from a dedicated and trusted business lawyer. A lawyer can help you avoid all of the above mistakes and will protect your best interests during settlement negotiations.
This article is a service of Tara Cheever, Family Business Lawyer®. I offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. I also offer a LIFT Start-Up Session™ or a LIFT Audit for an ongoing business, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call me today to schedule.