As a small business owner, you understand that things don’t always go as planned. A major part of the job is resolving arguments and smoothing over tensions on a daily basis. Whether it be an employee disputing the amount of overtime they worked or a shareholder angry that their expectations are not being met, there will always be a fire to put out when you’re the boss.
As we discussed in our blog last month, one of the most effective ways to avoid business disputes is to carefully construct your business in a way that quells them to begin with. Make sure everything is in writing, make expectations clear, always have information available and so on.
Whether it’s because a detail slipped through the cracks or maybe an issue has quietly grown over time, sometimes disputes are unavoidable. Nobody wants to go to court; it is time consuming, stressful and expensive. If you and the other party are willing to keep cool heads, mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that can provide positive outcomes to all involved.
Choosing mediation over litigation
In mediation, you and the other party will meet out of court with an impartial third party – the mediator. Mediators are not judges. Most often they are attorneys with an intimate knowledge of the laws regarding the subject matter being argued. They will help both you and the other party work through your disagreement with the intent of finding sincere understanding and resolution.
Mediation does not always end in receiving the maximum amount of personal gain and may even require both parties to cede ground to the other. Many people feel that it’s worth it, however, when put against the time and money civil court litigation requires.
The total cost of mediation is considerably less than the costs of court cases and the bill is split between both parties. Mediation is also usually resolved within a few hours where an attorney will require several hours just to prepare a court case. The role of a good mediator is to find resolution, meaning you will also be preserving your relationship with the other party.
Being a small business owner is one of the highest-pressure jobs on the market. If you can keep your emotions in check, resolving your disputes with mediation can mean better results in the long run for all involved.