Running a business in California means you likely have relationships with many people, including customers, suppliers and vendors. Although you may try your hardest to keep your business running smoothly, every business faces a dispute at some point.
However, you can reduce your chance of a business dispute. You are probably familiar with the value of your contracts and know how important it is that everything be in writing and that details matter.
Keep good written records
This attitude should apply to all transactions. Document everything that happens.
If you have a phone call with someone and agree on something, send a follow up email outlining the content of your conversation to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Address potential conflicts early in the life of your business, or as soon as they arise. Your business might start out small, and you may never anticipate having certain types of disputes.
Expect the unexpected
As your business grows, you could face new challenges and find yourself making decisions you did not anticipate. Plan for how different types of situations will be handled, even if they ultimately never happen.
The value of good communication cannot be underestimated. So many business disputes could have been prevented if people had simply communicated better. If there’s a a question in your mind, its better to seek clarification.
Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel you are not getting what you asked for, and if you are the one who cannot fulfill an obligation, be up front about it. Avoiding difficult conversations only leads to disputes that could have been prevented.
Remember your fiduciary duties as a business owner. These are duties of care and loyalty, meaning you have a duty to make decisions in the best interests of your business and shareholders.
Sometimes despite your best efforts, a business dispute is unavoidable, but there are ways to resolve them. It is best to learn about these options before resorting to litigation.