How To Avoid Business Disputes
Last week, British Airways crew members announced an organised strike as part of a dispute over pay. Although British Airways put forth a resolution, the crew members rejected the resolution. Unfortunately, business disputes are not specific to large, unionised companies – it can happen to anybody.
In 2011, there were 21,260 business disputes requiring arbitration, mediation, or adjudication in the UK alone. Business disputes lead to countless hours taken away from work, thousands of dollars lost, and irreparable damage. Just hearing these stories can make some people cringe because obviously nobody wants to be involved in a business dispute.
Thankfully, there are precautions to take in business endeavours to avoid business disputes and help the company run smoothly:
1. Put Everything In Writing
This applies to any type of agreement, minutes from meetings, and even phone conversations. When things are not put into writing, parties may forget the terms originally agreed upon, or fully understand what he or she agreed to. By transcribing conversations, it allows for all parties to check over the work and confirm that your understanding of the matter is in line with their understanding of the matter. If there are any parts that do not match up, parties can work out the inconsistencies before moving forward.
2. Clarify As Much As Possible
Define and disambiguate all terms and conditions. Do not leave it to the reader to interpret what you mean. Instead, say what you mean. Specify matters such as timeline, cost estimate, and personnel, if necessary. There is no such thing as being “too specific” when it comes to business matters. It is imperative for everybody to know their role, expectations, assignments in business matters to ensure the proper workings of the business.
If everything is spelt out for all parties, there is a small margin for misunderstanding. The more you can clarify, the better!
3. Communicate Early And Often
Miscommunication is the single largest reason for disputes of any kind, not just business-related disputes. When you have concerns, it is important to speak directly with who is involved, raise your concerns, and offer constructive feedback on how to correct the issue. It is imperative to raise concerns as soon as possible.
Often this can end any conflict before it escalates into a bigger issue. You may learn that you no longer want to move forward with this company or individuals, but that is a lesson best learned before getting in too deep.
Taking time at the beginning of your business venture to put everything into writing, clarifying as much as possible, and communicating early and often are essential in avoiding business disputes. In 2016, there were a collective 322,000 working days lost due to labour disputes. Nobody can afford to lose working days, but hopefully, with these tips, you won’t have to!
Get The Legal Advice You Need To Avoid Business Disputes
We can help you work out what documents you need so that you can avoid business disputes. Book a free Startup Legal Session and you’ll get free legal advice that will protect you against business disputes for years to come.