Solving Business Partnership Disputes Before They Go Awry

When you run a business, you will definitely run into problems along the way. It can be tricky if you are in a partnership. It is much more difficult if the two of you cannot agree on one thing.

It is best to resolve such disputes quickly before they escalate into something that can negatively impact the business. How can that be possible?

A business partnership is just like having a relationship. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes, failure to address them properly or solving them can result to the downfall of the business. That’s where it differs greatly from other problems that are simply interpersonal; business partnerships concern money, and it is an investment that can be a bitter pill to swallow if the business goes awry.

Fortunately, business partnerships do not need to be and should not be an interpersonal problem. Everyone can take care of business partnership problems without having to become too personal. Unlike interpersonal problems, disputes in business partnerships most often involve only the financial and the strategic side, and they are easier to solve.

Disputes can prove costly to the business, especially when they start to involve litigation. You want to and should spend time on the boardroom discussing business, and not in a court room. Here are some ways that you can facilitate resolving your disputes with your partner:

  • Keep your emotions at bay
    Like mentioned earlier, there is no need to become emotional and personal when resolving business problems. The problem concerns the business, not you as a person. When a partner questions the current state of the business, he does not necessarily question your skill as an entrepreneur. Rather, he is merely concerned with the direction his investment is going.
  • Talk it out
    No problem is without solution, and in this case no solution can be reached without the partners talking it out. Take time to reevaluate your business goals and plans, and find out on which part of them do your visions do not coincide with each other. If you partner has a proposal in dealing with the current dispute, you should consider it. If you have a proposal, make sure you make a pitch for it as well. Make sure to write it down so you can prepare a presentation you can approach your Board of Directors with.
  • Consider tapping the services of a mediator
    This is where the Board of Directors comes in handy. Directors make sure that partners do not make decisions on the business right away without consulting them. In that sense, they can make good mediators in a dispute. Present the case to the Directors – but not without consulting or notifying the other party – and have them decide. The directors are concerned with the path the business takes as well; they can decide which of your proposals best serve the company in the long run and which of them adheres to the strategic visions of the company. There are also professional mediators that you can tap if you and your partner need to work a few kinks out that the Directors cannot decide on.


  • Jessie said on January 13, 2010
    i have a business in Edison meddlsex county New Jersey USA, how do i resolve our partnership disputes.
  • cherylyn said on December 10, 2010
    Santa Rosa, CA 95409 usa. I have a partner that has a temper and has now felt the freedom to display this in front of employees. It has become something of greater concern as he enter the business and makes his demands before discussing with the partnership group. I have had two employees mention that he insists on hugging them and they don't want to but feel they must. I am an equal partner and would like to know what I should do to set a structure in talking with this partner. So he understands he put us all at risk if he continues to behave without restraint.


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