Most business relationships – be they among several partners in a general or limited partnership, shareholders in a closely held corporation, or even relatives engaged in a family business – start out amicably. Passion and optimism among a close-knit group breed positive feelings. In the business setting, almost anything seems possible. Unfortunately, as is the case in many marriages, business relationships sour.
What Goes Wrong?
How could business partners or associates who once got along so wonderfully suddenly be at each other’s throats? While relationships, like the persons involved in them, are unique, management points to a number of typical reasons that internal business disputes arise, including the following:
- Dueling partners – Lively and engaged debate among the founders is great. As the saying goes: “Two (or more) heads is better than one.” In all too many small businesses, however, the partners can never get beyond the debate. Dissention and conflict is contagious; it is rarely a good thing. It destroys morale.
- Analysis paralysis – At perhaps the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those business arrangements in which none of the partners speak up, in which the business instead expends endless time, energy, and resources in study and consideration. This sort of an “analysis paralysis” can cause dissention among the ranks, and even lead to business failure.
- Talents and abilities – Inability of one or more of the business owners to translate passion into execution can also be a leading problem. One business founder may be a passionate “idea” person. Another may think he or she is good at operations. Can the firm find the right sort of alchemy to turn the gleam in the founder’s eye into a workable product or service? If not, disagreement will surely follow.
- Burnout – Over time, particularly where the burdens of the business fall on some more heavily than others, the leaders “lifting the load” can tire and decide that the pace just isn’t worth it.
- Failure to have a written business plan – If the founding business partners or leaders don’t know where the firm is heading, any road will get them there. Where consensus isn’t reduced to writing, it can easily disappear. Without a tangible plan in place, areas of disagreement will sooner or later turn to real bones of contention.
What Do You Do When “the Thrill is Gone”
Where the operation is plagued with internal dissension, there are a number of possible remedies:
- Reorganizing the entity/revising the partnership, so as to recognize the dissention and allow for its release. Careful legal analysis is generally required to accomplish this.
- Craft a negotiated buyout.
- Work toward a mediated break-up among the business owners.
- Seek a court-ordered dissolution.
Experienced, Knowledgeable Legal Counsel Can Help Resolve Differences
Are you in the midst of an internal business disagreement? Does it appear that the issues aren’t just minor disagreements, but systemic conflict? E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy has the experience and knowledge to assist you in reaching the best possible outcome regarding your business dispute. We can help make changes that are relatively amicable. Alternatively, we have the skills and tenacity required to take your case to trial, if necessary.
We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the capital district. We have been representing clients for more than 125 years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 730-4723 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.