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Consider using mediation to resolve small business disputes

| Feb 17, 2023 | Business Litigation |

Few businesses go through operations without entering into disputes from time to time. While large corporations have the resources available to battle it out in court, smaller companies in Texas often do not. How can you resolve disputes without breaking the bank? Mediation may be the answer.

How does business mediation work?

Mediation offers business owners a viable way to resolve business disputes as a neutral third party meets with both sides, creating an environment in which to discuss the problem, with the goal of finding a solution amenable to both sides. If the opposing sides express their willingness to follow the result of the mediation, they have already set the framework to resolve their differences if future problems arise.

Most mediation ends in a successful agreement, resulting in a signed document or a memorandum outlining the terms. Mediation provides various benefits, including efficiency, cost-effectiveness and not having public relations problems as most mediations are private and confidential. When compared with litigation, mediation is much less expensive as mediators have a significantly lower hourly rate than lawyers. Add the cost of the time you would spend in court, which takes time away from running your business, and you can see why many business owners prefer this route to resolve disputes.

Business disputes can take many forms

Business disputes can involve arguments between partners, shareholders or employees, breach of contract claims or trade secret infringement, unfair competition and similar issues. If mediation does not resolve the problem, you can try other forms of dispute resolution to avoid litigation. Alternative forms of dispute resolution include arbitration, administrative hearings and settlement conferences. If you want to keep your dispute out of the public eye, trying another form may be a wise move to protect your business reputation.

Finding a mediator is easier than you think. Check your local chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau for listings. These organizations often have mediators who specialize in small business mediations and charge minimal fees. Other organizations, like the Texas Bar association, have listings of mediators you can use to resolve your business dispute efficiently.