There are often disputes in business that if not handled correctly and resolved can lead on to litigation, a long drawn out procedure that can cost a business dearly. In some cases, small businesses may never recover. But before you bring lawyers & solicitors on board to give legal advice, see if some of these dispute resolution techniques can help.
- If the dispute is with another business such as a supplier, contact their company to see if they have and dispute resolution procedure in place to follow. Always word your correspondence tactfully and politely. Use that to deal with the dispute.
- If there is not, contact the supplier and ask them to discuss the matter with you. If they agree try to keep the discussion unheated and listen to them carefully to see if what they say is right. See what they want to happen about the problem.
- If the above doesn’t work, bring in a professional mediator. A mediator can offer neutral advice that does not favour one or the other. They can defuse a situation that is in danger of getting out of control and often know how to bring about a solution to the problem.
- If there is no solution in sight, point out that litigation will be disruptive and costly to both sides and can drag on for months.
- If the person still wants to sue you won’t be able to stop them, but it is possible that some time down the track they will realise just how stressful, time-consuming and costly it is getting and they may then be amenable to another suggestion of settlement out of court.
Making sure your own company has a dispute resolution process in place is vital in order to circumvent any litigation.
Disputes can arise between –
- Staff and management
- Customers and companies
- Suppliers and companies
- Family members of a business
- Employees of the same company
There are many different types of disputes and some are even fraudulent. However, it is wise to take all of them seriously until they can be proven otherwise.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) uses an impartial mediator to help the people involved decide on a resolution between themselves. There are several benefits: –
- It is quicker and cheaper. Judicial proceedings are slow and costly.
- It is more flexible than having to agree on what a judge decides.
- It is less stressful.
- It is more confidential. The media can be kept out and the reputation of your business is saved. It can even be kept confidential internally, so people not involved don’t disrupt things by taking sides.
- ADR can be tried at any time, even after the dispute has gone to court.