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How to resolve a business dispute

Whether you have a dispute with a partner, vendor or client, you can preserve your business relationship with a smart approach to the conflict. Having methods in hand to cope with these issues can also protect the reputation and profitability of your company.

Review these tips to resolve a business-related dispute.

Consider mediation

With this method, a neutral party helps you and the other person or entity resolve the dispute. He or she facilitates the conversation and seeks common ground with the goal of finding a solution on which both sides can agree. If mediation results in an agreement, you can create a legally binding contract to memorialize the decision.

Engage in arbitration

Like mediation, arbitration involves a neutral third party. However, unlike a mediator’s decision, which can be appealed, the decision of an arbitrator is final and not subject to appeal. In both arbitration and mediation, both parties have the chance to present information and the final agreement remains confidential.

Pursue litigation

If other methods do not successfully resolve a business dispute, you may consider filing a lawsuit against the other party or you may end up as the defendant in a lawsuit. Either way, you and your attorney will get the opportunity to present evidence supporting your case. The judge will make a legally binding decision to resolve the issue.

You can also prevent the need for mediation, arbitration or litigation by creating a comprehensive operations agreement for your business. This type of legal document provides guidance to solve common disputes. Typically, the court will follow the terms of a business agreement as long as it complies with state laws.