Having multiple owners can help protect a business. If one owner has a medical emergency or gets into a car crash, the other owner can step up and temporarily cover their responsibilities. Two or more co-owners can also offer a broader perspective and more unique insight into business challenges than one person could possibly come up with on their own.
However, the downfall of co-ownership situations is that human relationships inevitably experience some degree of conflict. When co-owners get into a fight, business operations can suffer. How do you make sure the company continues to operate successfully when you find yourself in a dispute with your co-owner?
Maintain the status quo until you resolve the conflict
Is the issue about changing the way you do business or renegotiating the compensation everyone receives? The disputes may take weeks if not months to negotiate and settle.
In the meantime, it may be best for your business to continue operating as it did previously and paying the same compensation it did before. The more pressing the concern, the more you may want to invest in the rapid resolution of your conflict with your co-owner.
Defer to your business plan or partnership agreement
You should have some kind of formal agreement in place with your co-owner. It is common for people to delegate certain decision-making responsibilities to each owner at a business or to agree to certain conflict resolution terms. You may need to go back over your contract or agreement to determine who should handle certain decisions or how you need to resolve the conflict.
Agree to avoid conflict while at work
Whether your partner wants to buy you out and you don’t want to leave or you suspect them of embezzlement, you may have a hard time working with one another. Trying to keep the peace at work is of the utmost importance.
You may need to find ways to avoid each other during the workday so that you don’t get into arguments in front of other people at the company. The longer the disagreement drags out, the more likely it is to have an impact on the overall culture at the company and the performance of your workers.
You may need to consider sitting down with a mediator or another conflict resolution specialist to resolve the matter. When amicable resolution isn’t possible, then business litigation may be necessary to protect the long-term solvency of the company.