Having a business partner allows you experience many of the benefits of business ownership without all the risks. You can bounce ideas off someone else, and you can each use your strengths in the management of the business. However, you and your partner will likely disagree about how the company is being run at some point. Here are three common disputes, and how to resolve these issues.
Disagreements about money
You and your partner may disagree about how money is being spent. It is also more common than you think for a partner to embezzle funds from the company. If you are not the one who oversees the finances, you should consider a few protections against such behavior. Set out clear expectations regarding your roles and time commitments. Then agree on salaries that adequately compensate both partners for such work.
You could also ask to approve expenses over a certain threshold. This keeps your partner honest, and you aware of what the business is spending money on.
Disagreements about duties
You and your partner agreed to certain roles when you started the business. As time goes on, your responsibilities may shift or new tasks may come up. If one of you is no longer doing his or her fair share, this can lead to anger and unhappiness. The best way to resolve this is by having a conversation with your partner. Either tasks should be redistributed, or one partner should receive a raise to compensate him or her for new responsibilities.
If you cannot come to an agreement, you may have to pursue legal actions like dissolving the partnership, keeping one partner on as a shareholder only or going to court.
Disagreements about how to manage problems
Most businesses will run into some obstacles. Perhaps your sales slump, or your business encounters a public relations nightmare. Planning for these issues can prevent disputes during a stressful time. Maybe you agree to hire a public relations firm if need be, or plan to address a sales slump by offering discounts on your most popular item. Talking to your partner beforehand allows you to address problems quickly, minimize damage and hopefully prevents you from fighting with each other.
A business partnership requires work like any other relationship. However, you can avoid disagreements by being honest with each other and planning how to handle future conflicts.