Disputes about money are one of the major issues we see in mediation. When a business is running well and the economy is good the topic rarely comes up, but when business slows and money is tight the focus seems to settle on that issue.
Communication on expectations is crucial in maintaining a good relationship when discussing financial issues. Have you ever had a friend or family member borrow money? Did you hear “Don’t worry; I’ll pay you back as soon as I can.” Or, “You know I’m good for it.” When your expectation of repayment doesn’t meet the other person’s, it can become a very uncomfortable situation and not unlike what can happen in your business.
Financial disagreements include services that are key to your business. When a vendor provides substandard service, doesn’t deliver on time, provides poor customer service to your client it impacts your bottom line. All of these are important issues in running a business and being specific on your expectations is the key.
Not having an agreement or contract signed is one of the most prevalent problems in business disputes. If a dispute arises and the agreement or contract has never been signed it puts the business owner in a terrible position. I can’t tell you how many times in mediation the lack of a signed contract has created a huge issue. Your perception of a conversation is one thing you can’t prove. Having a signed agreement protects not only your but the other party as well.
It can be very uncomfortable when dealing with a new customer or a valued client or a great vendor to say “I need to do that in writing”. It can make it sound like you don’t trust them. Ways to avoid those difficulty situations might be:
An ambiguous statement can be easily misunderstood by both parties so be specific and clarify who, what, when, where and how. Resolving a financial dispute that leads to litigation is costly so avoid disputes before they happen.