4 Ways to Avoid Business Disputes in 2016
When it comes to creating new business relationships, many may focus on the excitement and all-consuming nature of the pitch, the presentations, the follow-up calls and further meetings. Often, the journey from offer to acceptance can be long and one that is marred with delays and uncertainty.
The relief of obtaining that business can be such a strong one that it masks the need to include various steps and procedures along the way, necessary to help avoid any problems or disputes later down the line.
Of course, you want to get that business in the order booklet, but how can you ensure that all sensible precautions have been taken to avoid any unnecessary stress, hassle or disputes in the future?
Here are five simple ways that’ll help steer your new business agreement along the right tracks and ensure it is one that is long, clear and risk-adverse:
Wait for a Signed Written Agreement
As tempting as it is to get started on that new contract as soon as possible, to, of course, welcome funds into the business bank account, it will pay dividends if you wait. Disputes can easily occur from each party having varying expectations on the other and making assumptions that the other party is aware of it and in agreement.
Don’t start work or make decisions regarding the workflow and contract without prior understanding and information on the role, remuneration and protections for now and as the contract progresses. Be aware that these may evolve as it moves forward.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No to Terms
It’s not unfair to find certain assumptions that have been made and have then been drafted into the contract, to be unreasonable. A contract, even if you’re the one vying for the work, must be based on mutual understanding, trust and reasonable terms. If either party feels they are being taken advantage of and are receiving the rough end of the deal, then it is unlikely that this shall be forgotten and likely to rear its ugly head later. Don’t be afraid to say no to certain terms and enter into negotiations. Start on an equal footing and both parties will feel they are part of a valued business relationship.
3. Get a Lawyer to Cast their Eye over the Contract
Both you or the other party cannot rely on terms and conditions that simply aren’t legal. Therefore, if a dispute arises and you claim that the reason for such has clearly been stated within the terms and conditions, this is likely to fuel the problem and cause it to escalate if these are based on illegal statements. To protect both the words in your contract and yourself against unfair statements in your party’s terms, get a legal expert take a look. It’s worth the time and money in the long-run to make sure an agreement is above-board. Also, if a dispute were to arise, a lawyer can help with proceedings and discussions on the best strategy to adopt and way to approach a possible case.
4. Think About the What-Ifs
There is no harm in considering the worst-case scenarios. In fact, in business agreements, it’s actually quite healthy. What would happen if you received other business deals? What if this contract does come to an end? Or, if a conflict does arise? Asking these questions early on enables you to appreciate what precautions should be taken to avoid it happening in the first place, or what next steps to implement if it does. If you have a gut instinct, don’t ignore it, tackle it head on.
Alternatively, if you're a business having trouble with your property or rental agreement, our commercial lease solicitors are experts in the field. Our employment solicitors can also assist you with employee-related disputes. For more information on dealing with a wide range of business disputes, contact one of our team today.