Whether you own a small business or a large company, you have relationships and contracts with many different parties that are critical to the success of your business. Disputes will arise. Disagreements are part of doing business, but so too is the process of resolving disagreements. How you resolve a business dispute can have a significant impact on your bottom line and continued profitability.
Types of Business Disputes
Business disputes often arise from disagreements over contracts, implied warranties, transactions, or legal obligations. For example, you may find that your business is in dispute with a(n):
You likely pay various insurance premiums so that you have the right business coverage. If you need to make an insurance claim, and the insurance company refuses to honor your policy, your business could suffer a significant or devastating financial setback.
Your commercial lease not only gives you a place to do business, but it also provides you with some financial certainty about the cost of rent, utilities, maintenance, and repairs. A dispute over the terms of your commercial lease may result in significant uncertainty and financial vulnerability.
You couldn't do business without your employees. Employee disputes are financially risky, like other types of disputes. However, they may be more personal than other kinds of disagreements. Employee disputes may arise out of hiring, firing, promotion, or pay disagreements.
You may rely on manufacturers, wholesalers, and service providers to do business. A dispute with a business you rely on to conduct your own business could significantly disrupt your ability to meet your customers' or clients' needs.
In small disputes, the adage that the customer is always right may work; however, in a more significant dispute, that adage could endanger your business. Customer disputes must be handled delicately.
Unfair trade practices and other competitor disputes can destroy your business if they are not appropriately handled.
Tax disputes or allegations of non-compliance with government regulations can put your business at significant financial risk.
Your business may bring the dispute if you believe the other party violated a contract or acted illegally, or your business may need to defend itself in a dispute if another party brings these types of allegations against you.
How to Resolve Disputes
As a business owner, you've likely resolved disputes already, and you know that every dispute is unique. You can't fix them all the same way. Depending on the nature of the dispute, you may resolve your dispute through:
Some disputes can be resolved outside of a formal process. Even during informal negotiations, however, it is critical to have an attorney represent your business so that all of your rights are protected, and you can be confident in the dispute resolution.
A neutral third-party can help you and the other party resolve your dispute. A mediator won't decide your case, but they will help with negotiations. You have the right to be represented by counsel during mediation.
Like mediation, arbitration happens outside of court, and you have the right to be represented by a lawyer. However, unlike mediation, a third-party arbitrator will decide your case. The arbitration decision is binding.
The final way to resolve your dispute is in court. An attorney will work with you to achieve your goals well before your case goes to trial and throughout the litigation process.
Sometimes the dispute resolution method is already decided for you by contract or law, and other times you may have an option about which dispute resolution method to pursue.
What to Expect When You Contact a Business Lawyer
There are many kinds of disputes and various ways to resolve business conflicts and disagreements. Yet, many of your goals remain the same despite the unique dispute you face now. As a business owner, you want to resolve the dispute:
Financial uncertainty can be dangerous for your business. Shareholders, lenders, vendors, and others are often hesitant to invest or partner with you when there is a significant business dispute pending. Similarly, you may be unsure how to position yourself for future success when facing financial uncertainty from a business dispute. Accordingly, it is often in your best interest to resolve your dispute as quickly as possible.
You don't want to spend any more money than you have to on the resolution of your business dispute. Instead, you want to reinvest the money in your business or enjoy your business profits.
Our experienced business representation attorneys want to help you achieve your goals. We will thoroughly review your dispute, consider all possible dispute resolutions, and advise you of all of your options so that you can make an informed decision that is in the best interest of your business.