4 Tips on How to Best Handle Your Partnership Dispute

Disputes are common even among the best-crafted business partnerships. No one is in complete agreement with their partner(s) 100% of the time, and sometimes opposing viewpoints can cause minor disputes to turn bitter. When this happens, what makes a crucial difference in the success or failure of your venture is how you handle these conflicts when they arise.

Here are four tips on how to handle such a crisis and prevent the partnership from becoming irrevocably damaged.

Tip #1: Focus on a Solution, Not the Problem

If you and your partner are having an argument, try to focus on a solution instead of the disagreement itself. You’re not looking to win an argument here. Discussing the problem further will only irritate you both and prevent you from focusing on what’s best for the business. 

Instead, outline the steps that must be taken to accomplish an outcome that will be beneficial for both of you. Doing so will foster a spirit of cooperation by getting you both on the same page and, ideally, keeping you there.

Tip #2: Control Your Emotions

When a partnership dispute is based on a difference of opinion, it is easy to interpret their opposition as a personal rejection and react emotionally. If you are upset, calm down before approaching your partner to address the issue. An angry tone and hostile manner will only make things worse. Once you are ready, focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution to the hurdles you are facing right now.

Tip #3 Hire a Mediator

If you and your partner are still in conflict after trying to resolve the matter on your own, consider hiring a mediator. Some standard operating agreements include a provision requiring that a mediator be hired if a dispute revolves around a certain set of issues.

Mediators, who are neutral individuals, can assist you and your partner by:

  • Helping you present your positions in a non-confrontational manner
  • Keeping emotions out of the discussion so that you can constructively address the substantive differences between you
  • Drawing upon their experience in resolving similar disputes to helping you find effective solutions or strategies

If they believe that a dispute cannot be resolved, a mediator can also help you and your partner orchestrate an amicable separation.

Consult An Attorney

If the source of the discord is a faulty or one-sided partnership agreement, a Florida business attorney can assist by reviewing the document(s), suggesting terms that are more reasonable, and getting buy-in from both of you. The new, more equitable agreement could make your partnership stronger than ever. Conversely, if the dispute has left the partnership beyond repair, an attorney can help dissolve the relationship as equitably as possible.


Disputes within a Florida partnership will disrupt the business and can potentially have an effect on your company’s reputation, on the confidence of your employees and vendors, and perhaps even the viability of the partnership itself. For experienced assistance in resolving such a challenging situation, contact the Florida Small Business Center at 1-866-842-5202.

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