Business Deals Gone Wild! Part 2

By Jamie Moore Marcario

In part 1, we explored why business owners have to know how to negotiate deals in a way that diminishes the amount of conflict involved as much as possible. In addition to draining your financial resources, business disputes can result in serious fights, and even lawsuits, that suck up precious time and energy to resolve. The key to avoiding these scenarios is to set clear boundaries and realistic expectations at the outset of entering any business relationship or signing any professional agreement. In doing so, you set yourself up for positive outcomes rather than negative consequences.

Let’s face it. We would all rather completely avoid conflict when it comes to business matters, but that is virtually impossible.  So it is imperative that you are prepared to address business disputes appropriately and head on when they arise.  To help you achieve the best outcome possible when business deals go wild, we at Thrive Law offer you these 5 strategies for getting your dispute from Wild to Mild as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  1. Clarify What You’re Fighting About:

    You know what you want. But are you sure you know the other party’s desired outcome for resolution? If not, be sure to ask clarifying questions to be sure you understand the other party’s point of view, their wants, their concerns, and their desires. Once you’re clear on what “they” want, get clear on what you want as a resolution, too. This requires asking yourself some tough questions and coming face to face with your ego. While it may be challenging, this is not the time to let your ego dictate the outcome. Instead, let the voice of reason decide the best result for you. Although it’s tough to see what’s going on at the heart of a dispute while emotions are running high, that’s the time to step back and see the dispute with fresh eyes. If you’re having a difficult time with this step, speak with a trusted advisor (like the great team at Thrive Law) to help you find the clarity you need to make good decisions.

  2. Make Offers without Admissions:

    So now you find yourself squarely in the midst of the dispute resolution process and you just want it to be over. However, be careful during this time that your desire to get it over with does not cloud your judgment when offering options for resolution. Instead, be mindful to propose win-win solutions where possible, but do so “without prejudice” or any admission of guilt or liability. That way, if you end up in court, your resolution offer cannot taint your legal case.

  3. Try Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques:

    Lawsuits are generally a lose-lose for everyone involved. So before you have that attorney file that lawsuit, attempt to resolve your business dispute through alternate means, like informal settlement conferences, collaborative dispute resolution, mediation, or arbitration. To ensure these options are available to you, be sure that every business and professional agreement you sign has alternative dispute resolution provisions built in. While it sounds great to “you’re your day in court,” it’s generally better for you and everyone you love to resolve matters outside of the courtroom whenever possible.

  4. Don’t Fight for Your Legal Rights on Principle:

    If you want to avoid going a lawsuit over a business dispute—and it’s usually in your best interest to do so—make a truly good-faith effort to reach a mutually beneficial solution with the other party. Find a resolution that protects your legal rights while giving the other party something that they need or want, too. Feeling a little lost about how to accomplish this? The team at Thrive Law can help as a key part of our mission is to help our clients resolve disputes out of court whenever possible by identifying how the respective parties’ needs can be met and where there are commonalities that can be leveraged to facilitate agreement in the conflict resolution process.

  5. Watch your Language:

    Settlement offers can be complicated. The way an agreement is worded or structured can affect the outcome, especially if that outcome is a financial judgment. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions in any settlement offer. And never make a settlement offer without having a trusted advisor strategize and review the wording with you first.

 

Most importantly, if you’re facing a business dispute with a partner, an employee, or a vendor, seek counsel from a trusted legal advisor before going it alone.  The right lawyer can help you avoid the most common mistakes while protecting your business interests during settlement negotiations.

 

This article is an educational service of Thrive Law a business law boutique.™ It does not constitute legal or tax advice or imply an attorney-client or accountant-client relationship. At Thrive Law, we offer a full spectrum of legal services for businesses and are equipped to help you make the wisest choices about your business dealings while you’re alive and well or in the event of your incapacity or death. We also offer a Healthy Business & Creative Checkup for ongoing ventures, as well as outsourced company counsel plans for businesses who need a legal team on speed dial. Contact us today to schedule: 727.300.1990 or hello@thrivelaw.com. We cannot wait to meet you!

Business Deals Gone Wild! Part 1

By Jamie Moore Marcario

To be a successful business owner, it’s essential that you know how to make good deals and navigate conflict when it arises in the midst of a deal.

If you find yourself in a dispute over a deal or business agreement, the costs of “a fight” can be enormous.  Think litigation costs, reputational damage costs, not to mention the loss of your own energy and passion for your business that results from engaging in a dispute.

So if your business deal goes wild, what do you need to know to mitigate the damage and the cost?

Above all else, remember that most business fights happen because the agreement process was not handled well in the first place, making a dispute over details almost inevitable.  So to avoid these types of damaging conflicts put the possibility of them on the table from the get-go. When you’re in the midst of drafting the agreement, make sure all the parties talk about their expectation and boundaries in a clear, straightforward way (with no sugarcoating). The best time to avert a conflict is at the beginning of the relationship when everyone is still in the honeymoon phase. It’s easier to talk about tough stuff then than when you’re in the middle of it. The ideal time to surface conflicts is at the beginning of a relationship by creating clear boundaries and expectations, using the agreement process.

Ideally, the process of reaching a business agreement will involve attorneys representing each party so that the parties are fully supported in sharing their otherwise “secret” hopes, desires, pet peeves, deal-breakers, and seemingly silly questions (that are not so silly when they determine whether or not the parties end up in court over a minor disagreement).  Having good attorneys involved also ensures that tough questions are asked that the parties may not have even considered.

When we take on the task of negotiating our own agreements, we often have a difficult time discussing the “not-so-pretty” aspects of the deal asking challenging questions of our new-found friend.  That’s why it’s helpful to have a trusted advisor on your side, supporting you each time you enter into a new agreement with anyone, whether it’s a new team member, a new business partner, or a new strategic partner.

When you rely on a tried and true process for developing your business agreements before you finalize any aspect of a deal, you greatly diminish the odds that you will wind up in expensive litigation time and time again.

But what happens if you have a great agreement development process and the business deal goes wild anyway?

We will answer that question in Part 2 of this article next Monday!

No one wants to end up in a business fight or a lawsuit. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to reduce the chance of encountering an expensive conflict in the future.  The first step is to find a trusted legal professional who will help you put protective measures in place to avoid the most common mistakes businesses make in the deal-making process. Thrive Law, PA can be that trusted advisor. We are here to help!

At Thrive Law, we help business owners negotiate deals, contracts, and settlements so they can channel their time and energy toward growing their business instead of putting out fires. We begin by scheduling a strategy session with you to plan how you can put in place a robust legal, insurance, financial and tax foundation that will streamline your business operations and minimize your risk of encountering contract and other business disputes.

This article is an educational service of Thrive LawTM, a business law boutique. It does not constitute legal or tax advice or imply an attorney-client or accountant-client relationship. At Thrive Law, we offer a full spectrum of legal services for businesses and are equipped to help you make the wisest choices about your business dealings while you’re alive and well or in the event of your incapacity or death. We also offer a Healthy Business & Creative Checkup for ongoing ventures, as well as outsourced company counsel plans for businesses who need a legal team on speed dial. Contact us today to schedule: 727.300.1990 or hello@thrivelaw.com. We cannot wait to meet you!

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