Agree before you disagree


I’ve been asked to help with a group of three dentists, where one wants to retire and have the other two buy him out. The remaining partners are in no hurry to help him exit, there is no agreement in place and they have a complex set of legal structures. Feelings are running high, no one is happy and the business is suffering.

I’m also helping another business owner – a husband and wife team – who raised some money through crowd funding last year, but before the deal could complete their fellow directors entered into an agreement with a couple of the investors and they went into competition. My client is suing the competitors, and has secured the patent on the product and the heart of the business, They just need lots of money to continue to fight their corner!

It doesn’t matter how well you get on with your partners, your suppliers or even your customers right now, it is a good idea to have some way of resolving issues before they become too serious.

Every business should have a procedure for resolving customer complaints – and ideally one that gives the customer a very quick resolution. That usually means empowering those on the front line to deal with the challenge.

Every supplier should have a set of conditions, or terms with sanctions that apply if the terms aren’t met.

Every group of shareholders – especially in private companies – should have a shareholders agreement, so that when the time comes you know what will happen next.

It’s a much better idea to agree a process and procedure before you disagree


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