You’ve been working hard at building a successful business with your 50/50 co-owner, but then, suddenly, an issue pops up and you just can’t agree on the solution. You realize how serious the situation could become—your company could even fail if you can’t come to some resolution. Here are some dos and don’ts to follow as you work through a major dispute with your fellow 50/50 owner:
- Have a plan. Ideally, you would have addressed this potential situation in your business formation documents, such as your LLC operating agreement. You should provide several options regarding dispute resolution and, for worst-case scenarios, a procedure through which one partner can buy out the other in the event that you can’t reach an agreement.
- Consider mediation. If you’re at a stalemate and don’t have a dispute resolution plan in place but you both want to continue working together, mediation may help. Under the guidance of an independent third party, you can work with your partner to resolve the issue at hand and move forward as a unit, perhaps even stronger than before.
- Pursue binding arbitration. If mediation fails, binding arbitration may be an option. Through this process, you put your situation before a neutral third party who decides the outcome.
- Jump straight to dissolution. As discussed above, you have options for coming to a resolution of your dispute, so why not try those out before giving up entirely?
- Make it personal. Remember that a 50/50 business partnership is much like a marriage, and even spouses fight sometimes. Continue to treat your partner with respect throughout your disagreement to avoid lingering bad feelings after the storm has passed.
If you’re facing a seemingly insurmountable dispute in your 50/50 business, let us help. Call us at (314) 454-9100 or send a message today to start the process of getting over this hurdle and getting your company back on track.
About the Author
Joel Green is a seasoned attorney working closely with individual and business clients to provide advice and counsel in addressing their legal questions and concerns. Joel is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois and splits his time between AEGIS’ main office, located in Clayton, Missouri, and its office in O’Fallon, Illinois.