Common Disputes Among Business Partners

The US Small Business Administration reports that small businesses make up 99.8% of all Florida businesses and employ 3.6 million people, or more than 41% of the state’s workforce. Many of these companies are the results of a partnership that successfully weathered the ups and downs inherent in such a relationship.

Just like any other relationship in life, business relationships have their highs and lows. As a partnership evolves, partners may face differences and decisions that separate them even though they share similar visions and goals. To reduce the risk of conflict in business partnerships, it may be helpful to address some common sources of unrest, such as:

  • Partner Compensation:  Partners may experience conflict if their compensation levels don’t reflect their degree of funding or involvement in the endeavor.
  • Roles and Responsibilities:  When role and responsibilities are imbalanced among business partners, conflict may be more likely. In some cases, a review and redefinition of each partner’s role can resolve the dispute, but if one party is unwilling to compromise, alternative dispute resolution or even litigation may be necessary.
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty:  If one partner is granted authority to make decisions on behalf of others, they are expected to act in the best interests of the group as a whole. If they fail to do so, they are considered to have breached their fiduciary duty, which can threaten the future of the partnership.
  • Different Goals:  Conflicts between business partners may arise when they have different goals for the company’s direction, and addressing such issues is crucial to maintaining a strong relationship. While in some cases it may make sense to dissolve the partnership, in other instances a series of respectful discussions can get everyone back on track.

When you encounter a problem not covered in your partnership agreement, you can still try to reach a compromise.  Strategies like negotiation and mediation can help you find a solution you both can live with. A Florida small business lawyer can work with you to achieve the best result and keep your legal costs reasonable.

In any business partnership, conflict can be intimidating, and the outcome of partner disputes can have a significant impact on the future of a small business. If things don’t go as planned, or if you need direction on what steps to take if things don’t work out, you may benefit from speaking with a Florida small business attorney. By doing so, you can gain necessary insight into how to safeguard your interests in similar agreements and in the event of a partnership termination.


At the Florida Small Business Center, we can support small business owners facing challenges due to a partnership dispute. We understand that the future of your company is at stake when internal disagreements impact the operations. While we aim to help you resolve matters as cost-effectively as possible, our legal team has the experience needed to protect your rights through litigation if necessary. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call 1-866-842-5202.

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