SHOP LOCAL: Dispute strategies essential for every small business

SHOP LOCAL: Dispute strategies essential for every small business

AN essential part of being a business owner is understanding how to deal with problems.

Disputes can arise in any business – it could be with a customer, supplier, business partner or an employee.

Having the right strategies in place can help prevent disputes from escalating or taking valuable time and attention from your business.

Here are some practical tips to help avoid disputes, and to keep your business on track:

  •        Read contracts before signing them – By signing a contract, you are legally bound by its terms and conditions, so make sure you read and understand any contract before signing it, or seek legal or professional advice if you are uncertain of any terms.
  •        Put it in writing – Make sure all terms, including payment details are included in the agreement and that it is signed by all parties involved.
  •        Develop good communication and relationships – Building good and honest relationships with your customers can help avoid disputes. Open communication can also help resolve disputes early.
  •        Keep records – Be organised and keep copies of all your signed agreements. Document the key details and keep a paper trail of any invoices, warranties, contracts, leases or correspondence.
  •        Know and understand your legal obligations – This will help you to realistically negotiate outcomes.
  •        Seek help early – Do not wait for a problem to occur, ask for assistance or feedback from your accountant or business adviser to ensure you have good systems in place to minimise the potential for disputes.

If you do find yourself in a business dispute and are finding it difficult to resolve it on your own, the Small Business Development Corporation offers a free dispute resolution service that can assist you by providing guidance to resolve your dispute so you can get back to running your business sooner.

Our service is an alternative to pursing the matter through the courts however, you can still pursue your legal options at any time.

The Small Business Development Corporation is here to help.

For more information on disputes, how to handle them and our dispute resolution service, visit smallbusiness.wa.gov.au or contact one of our experienced case managers on 13 12 49.