How to Resolve Financial Disagreement with Your Business Partners

How Business Partners can Resolve Financial Disagreement

Most times, entrepreneurs go into partnership to execute business opportunity because it’s usually difficult for a sole proprietor to succeed in business ventures, especially in the areas of funding, getting contracts and managing the business.

When two or more people partner in business, financial disagreement bound to happen. 

Causes of Financial Disagreement between Business Partners

In some instances, the disagreements are avoidable; in others, they happen out of the blue. 

Financial disagreements between you and your business partner can arise for a various  reasons, including competing investment priorities, differing risk tolerance levels, the allocation of money for expansion, profit distribution, debt management, or servicing.

Financial disagreements between business partners can arise due to these various reasons:

Varying Financial Contributions

Partners may have unequal financial investments in the business, leading to conflicts over profit-sharing, decision-making authority, and ownership stakes.

Disagreements on Spending: Differences in spending priorities, such as investing in expansion, marketing, or equipment, can lead to disagreements on how to allocate funds.

Financial Mismanagement

Inadequate financial planning, budgeting, or bookkeeping practices can create confusion and mistrust among partners.

Unequal Workload

If one partner feels that they are contributing more effort or time to the business than the other, it can lead to resentment and financial disputes.

Personal Spending from Business Funds

Using business funds for personal expenses can lead to financial strain and disputes, especially when it's not agreed upon by all partners.

Profit Distribution

Conflicts may arise over the distribution of profits, particularly when partners have different expectations or opinions on how much should be reinvested in the business versus distributed as dividends.

Expansion and Growth Plans

Divergent views on how fast the business should grow, and the level of risk associated with expansion, can cause disagreements on financial matters.

Financial Goals

If partners have different long-term financial objectives for the business, it can lead to clashes over the direction the company should take.

Economic Factors

External factors like changes in the market, economic downturns, or unexpected expenses can strain the business's finances and lead to disagreements on how to handle the situation.

Lack of Communication

Poor communication between partners can result in misunderstandings and disagreements over financial matters.

Trust Issues

Past financial discrepancies or breaches of trust can create lingering doubts and disputes over financial decisions.

Decision-making Authority

Differences in opinions on who should have the final say in financial matters can lead to power struggles and disagreements.

How to Resolve Financial Disagreement with Your Business Partners

Resolving financial disagreements with your business partner is crucial to maintaining a healthy and successful business partnership. Below are some steps you can take to address the issue effectively:

Open Communication

Start by initiating an open and honest conversation with your business partner. Find a suitable time and place to discuss the financial concerns without distractions. Ensure that both parties have an opportunity to express their viewpoints and feelings.

Listen and Understand

Be attentive to your partner's perspective and concerns. Seek to understand their point of view, and avoid interrupting or becoming defensive. Actively listening will demonstrate that you value their input and are committed to finding a resolution.

Don't be Emotional 

At the point of disagreement over finances, there’s bound to be increased emotions by any of the parties. It’s essential to keep your emotions in check, as they could determine if your partnership will continue to exist or collapse. If you or your business partner discover that feelings are beginning to take over, it’s necessary to take a break and come back to negotiation when both parties are settled.

Clarify the Issues

Identify the specific financial issues causing the disagreement. This could involve cash flow problems, differences in spending decisions, financial mismanagement, or unequal contributions to the business.

Review the Partnership Agreement

If you have a written partnership agreement, review it carefully to understand the terms related to financial matters, profit-sharing, expenses, and decision-making processes. This will provide a framework for your discussion and potential solutions.

Seek Professional Mediation

If the disagreement is becoming challenging to resolve between the two of you, consider involving a neutral third party, such as a business mediator or financial advisor. A mediator can facilitate communication and help find common ground.

Assess Financial Records

Review the business's financial records together to gain a clear understanding of the current financial situation. This can help identify the root causes of the disagreement and prevent misunderstandings.

Set Clear Goals

Establish common financial goals for the business and determine what each partner wants to achieve. Aligning on shared objectives can help rebuild trust and foster cooperation.

Compromise and Find Common Ground

Be ready to make compromises to find a common ground that can let to mutually beneficial solutions. Brainstorm alternative approaches to financial management and decision-making that address the concerns of both partners.

Establish New Procedures

After reaching an agreement, outline new financial procedures and decision-making processes. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, set spending limits, and establish a system for monitoring financial performance.

Implement Regular Check-Ins

Schedule regular meetings to discuss the business's financial performance and ensure that both partners are on track with the agreed-upon procedures. This will help identify any potential issues early on and prevent future disagreements.

Focus on the Future

While it's essential to address past disagreements, remember to focus on moving forward. Put the emphasis on working together to achieve the business's goals and build a stronger partnership.

To reduce the risk of financial disagreements, business partners must endeavour to establish clear communication channels, set up a comprehensive partnership agreement, define roles and responsibilities, and maintain transparency in financial matters. Regular meetings and financial updates can also help keep all partners informed and involved in the business's financial decisions. If disagreements do occur, addressing them promptly and professionally is vital to preserving the partnership's long-term success.

When all your efforts to resolve financial disagreement with your business partners when it arises, it may be necessary to consider more drastic measures, such as restructuring the partnership or even seeking legal advice. However, resolving conflicts amicably and collaboratively is always the best approach for maintaining a healthy and productive business relationship.

Ikechukwu Evegbu

Ikechukwu Evegbu is a graduate of Statistics with over 10 years experience as Data Analyst. Worked with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A prolific business development content writer. He's the Editor, Business Compiler

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