Managing Soured Relationships
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Frequently we hear tales of the rich and famous falling out, either with their partners or managers. These cases are of such a high profile that we almost come to take them for granted. But similar situations within the business community are more common, though less reported.
The simple fact is that some business relationships do turn sour. The important thing, however, is how these situations are responded to and how individual business people manage the situation.
Firstly, check to see whether you have a contract in place that covers as many different scenarios as possible. This should be a prerequisite in most if not all commercial relationships. Remember that a contract does not necessarily have to be in writing, though it is preferable, and it can amount to the simple signing of an official order. Where a contract is thought to be necessary at the outset of a relationship it’s always better to have this drawn up, or at least looked over by a qualified solicitor.
Relationships can fall apart through misunderstanding, circumstances or intent. However, things are rarely as clean-cut as you may hope and before dashing of to the courts it’s worth analysing your own part in the break-up. An ill-considered or hasty action on your part may destroy any advantage you have.
Discussion and negotiation, even where this means compromise, will always be preferable to going to court. Litigation through the courts is not for the faint-hearted and even though new procedures have been implemented in the courts system to speed things up it is always going to be a time-consuming, costly and uncertain procedure.
Early communication by all parties will generally pay dividends. And before taking any legal action it’s worth considering what remedy you actually want: whether it is to have the contract completed or to receive financial compensation to cover your losses.
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