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How can I avoid business partnership disputes?

Today’s entrepreneurs understand the necessity of business partnerships. Many new opportunities exist for professionals willing to work together and combine their resources. Experienced businesspeople know that the cost of teamwork is compromise and understanding, which is easier for some than others.

If you are having trouble navigating professional waters with your business partner, you are not alone. The following five guidelines can help co-owners navigate common disputes and work toward solutions that benefit the company.

These 5 tips can help you navigate partnership problems

The following five guidelines can help new partners get ahead of common issues, foster open communication and build trust:

  1. Draft a partnership agreement: Before you and your partner begin investing time, money or comfort in the project, draft a contract that outlines expectations, responsibilities and avenues for conflict resolution. Partners should also include a statement about the desired values and culture of the company.
  2. Choose a partner with complementary skills: You and your partner have joined forces likely because you work well together. When choosing a partner, make sure their skills complement your own and vice versa. If you are good at payroll and accounting but lack experience with Human Resource issues, try to locate a partner with the needed experience.
  3. Allow opportunities to say no: Alongside the values outlined in the partnership agreement, you can make space to allow your partner to say “no.” Perhaps a deal doesn’t feel right to them, or they disagree with the approach to a new project. Supporting a partner even when you do not fully understand fosters trust within the relationship.
  4. Do not compete: You and your partner are on the same side. Do not approach deals looking to “win” at the expense of your partner. Doing so will create distrust, promote secret-keeping, degrade company culture, and impair executive decision-making.
  5. Hire an attorney: Some partnerships do not work out. Should this happen to you, you will appreciate having a reliable attorney who understands your business by your side. Every individual in a partnership should hire a personal attorney familiar with Florida laws to represent their interests.
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