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3 questions to consider during a partnership dispute

It’s no surprise that business partners often fall out over something. There is a lot at stake in running a business, and relationships can be complicated even when no money is involved.

If you’re a business owner, how you handle partnership disagreements is what matters. If you handle them well, they could propel your partnership to greater success. If you handle them poorly, it could spell the end of your working relationship and your personal one. The following are some things to consider if a problem arises between you and your partner.

What does the contract say?

Some contracts are structured in ways that indicate what must be done under specific circumstances. If yours clearly states that one of you has the final say in split decisions then that is what you must go with. Your contract might also spell out steps such as obligatory mediation or arbitration when a serious dispute occurs. Should you decide the best option is to end the partnership, your contract may clarify how that can happen. For instance, how you should determine the price for one to buy the other out, and whether they have priority or whether the leaving partner can sell their interest in the company to the highest bidder.

How do you value your personal versus business relationship?

Are you prepared to jeopardize a friendship over a business disagreement? Or were you never really friends in the first place? The cost of losing a true friend could far outweigh any business gain you might make by “winning” your dispute.

Do you want to continue in this business? Or is it time to move on?

Perhaps the business venture never achieved the heights you both hoped for. Maybe you would both be better off calling it a day and investing your time and energy elsewhere. Or, maybe this business still has plenty of potential and doing all you can to resolve your dispute and preserve your partnership will be worth it in the long run.

It can be hard to get the perspective you need. Seeking outside assistance to review your contract and assess your options can help you make appropriate decisions when caught in a partnership dispute.