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How to resolve conflicts with a business partner

A partnership is a common business structure that offers many potential advantages. However, the business can suffer when your partner does not pull his or her own weight within the organization. 

Dealing with a non-performing business partner can be difficult and frustrating. Fortunately, there are often ways to resolve the conflict without going to court. 

Perform a background check

You may be able to avoid a conflict within your partnership pre-emptively if you have a third-party background check performed on potential partners before forming your business. This is especially important if you partner with people who are strangers to you. To avoid pushback over the request for background checks, suggest that all potential partners undergo them, including yourself. 

Communicate openly

In many cases, the resolution of a business conflict is possible through an open discussion between partners. Without becoming accusatory or hostile, raise your concerns in a calm, objective tone. Listen without judgment to your partner’s response. It may be that your partner’s performance has suffered because of personal issues. 

Another possibility is that your partner is unclear about what the agreement requires of him or her. You should review the agreement before your discussion. This allows you to refer to it directly to support your case. 

Seek third-party assistance

It may be that your issues run too deep for you to work out on your own. In that case, it may be helpful to turn to a third party, such as a business psychologist, to help you identify and work out your issues. 

If you have made an effort to resolve your conflict and your partner’s performance remains unsatisfactory, litigation may be the only option remaining to you. 

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