Steps to Handling Business Disputes

Written By Steps To Faculty Published September 18th, 2010

Starting up new business ventures requires a lot of planning, research, and diplomacy. One thing you have to remember is that you will, at some point, have to learn how to handle disputes between clients, business partners, suppliers, or employees. Here are six ways to handle business disputes – two tips to remember, and four ways to resolve problems.

Step 1. Remember – it is not personal

When you have disputes with people you trust, it can seem like an attack. Just remember that it is not personal. Every business has complaints because there is simply no way to please everyone. You need to focus on the issues, and not the people. Just do the best you can to stay objective before you begin negotiations.

Step 2. Focus on the best possible outcome for your business

Believe it or not, the best outcome may not be one in which you win the dispute. Sometimes it might be better to resolve a dispute quickly, out of court. This may involve compromise, financial compensation, or third-party mediation. Winning the dispute at the cost of your image is not worth it.

Step 3. Negotiate

This is the fastest way to resolve conflict, but not necessarily the easiest. Whether or not you want to negotiate with a partner, employee, or supplier will depend on how much you value your relationship with that person. Make sure to figure out just what he or she wants and why, then talk to him or her. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. You might be able to end the dispute here.

Step 4. Mediate

If you cannot work things out on your own, it might be time to call in a neutral third party to mediate. During the mediation process, the mediator will act as a liaison between opposing sides of the conflict and will do his or her best to ensure that the dispute is resolved. Nothing said during this process is admissible in court, so it is a safe way to attempt to settle your differences.

5. Arbitrate

If you cannot resolve the dispute during mediation, this might be an option to consider. During arbitration, both parties submit their disputes to an arbitrator. He or she will weigh the evidence and come to a decision, which both parties must accept. This is most costly than the other options above, but is still less expensive than going to court.

The last step, if the dispute cannot be resolved otherwise, is to have the matter settled by a judge. The judge will decide which party is wrong based on the law as well as the facts unique to each case. This is the least desirable outcome for any business. Not only could it cost you a business relationship, but litigation is also expensive and time consuming. Avoid it at all cost if you have any other alternatives. Please visit for more great business advice.

Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.