When you are running a business, you always have a risk of becoming involved in various business disputes. These disputes may involve customers, clients, suppliers, employees, business partners, or other parties. While you can never foresee and avoid every legal problem, you can take proactive steps to minimize your risk of involvement in some common business disputes.
Furthermore, if business conflicts arise, a business litigation lawyer at Kramer Green can help you resolve these problems in the most efficient manner possible. We are skilled at handling business disputes through negotiations, alternative dispute resolution, or formal court proceedings. We represent your interests in any legal disputes involving your business.
Get Everything in Writing.
When you are operating a business, all your contracts should be in writing, without exception. Depending on the type of business you operate, you may use the following types of contracts or agreements:
- Leases or rental agreements
- Purchase agreements
- Service contracts
- Employment contracts
- Merchandise orders and invoices
- Insurance policies
- Vendor and supplier contracts
Your business entity also should have various operating and governance documents. While it may be tempting, particularly if you are dealing with friends or family members, to rely on verbal agreements, this practice can easily lead to business disputes. Putting all your agreements in writing makes it much easier to know the terms of your agreement and helps you avoid unwanted, expensive, and lengthy business disputes. You should retain copies of all agreements for your records. Furthermore, allowing your business attorney to review your agreements periodically is also a good practice, as laws change over time.
Plan for the Future.
You should never assume that everything is going to work out as planned. While you may plan on running your business until a certain age and that your son will take over the business when you retire, that may be different from what happens. Perhaps you will become disabled well before you ever expected to retire. Your son may have no interest in running the business. You and your business partner may have a falling out and decide to go your separate ways. Whatever the case may be, you should be prepared for the unexpected to happen.
To that end, the documents related to your business entity should have provisions in them to address these possibilities. For instance, if you have a partnership, your partnership agreement should address what happens if one partner dies, retires, or wishes to leave the business. The agreement also should address situations in which one partner is convicted of a crime, is declared mentally incompetent, or files for bankruptcy.
Even if you operate your business as a sole proprietor, you should have a business succession plan in place. You should address what should happen to your business if you become incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away. You also should consider what procedures are necessary if you want to sell the business or retire.
Deal with Your Employees Properly
Employment-related disputes are very common. While you cannot avoid all disputes with current and former employees, you can take steps to minimize the risk of disputes. Some of these steps are as follows:
- Consider employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and restrictive covenants for high-level employees as needed;
- Maintain and follow a regularly updated employee handbook;
- Establish clear policies on discrimination and harassment;
- Provide adequate training for employees;
- Properly classify workers as employees or independent contractors;
If you regularly communicate with employees, partners, business associates, colleagues, and customers, you have a better chance of avoiding disputes. Open and honest relationships allow you to discuss issues before they become problems and lead to legal disputes. Rather than avoiding sensitive topics, addressing them, seeking a resolution, and documenting the outcome may be the best way to minimize your risk of business-related disputes.
We Can Help You Protect Your Business
A business litigation attorney at the law firm of Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. has the skills and knowledge necessary to represent you in all legal aspects of your business. We can help you prevent common business disputes you may encounter while running your business. We can also help you resolve business-related legal disputes as they arise. Call our office today at (954) 966-2112 or reach out to us online to set up an appointment and learn more about our legal services.