No business owner wants to end up in a dispute. But unfortunately, this is the nature of the field you involve yourself in. Instead of hoping a dispute never happens, it is more prudent to have a plan in case one does.
You may think this means you need to prepare yourself to take disputes to court. But you may actually have other options to turn to first.
FINRA discusses some forms of alternative dispute resolution that allows you to skip the court. One such option is arbitration. With this, an arbitrator takes the place of a judge. You do not need to present your case in court, in front of a jury. A judge does not need to hand down a decision. But the arbitrator still has the power to make a legally binding decision on your case. They listen to all parties present evidence and give their side of the conflict. Then, they decide what all parties must do to resolve the issue. You are bound to comply.
Note that arbitration takes less time and costs less money than litigation. Despite this, it offers many of the same benefits and stability that litigation can provide.
If you want a little more freedom to negotiate, mediation may suit you best. A mediator does not have the power to make a legally binding decision like a judge or arbitrator. They simply provide guidance as all parties work through the dispute. They may step in to steer the conversation and ensure everyone says what they want to say. They may also offer suggestions on how to handle things. But the end choice is up to you.
These are just two tools you can use when solving a dispute. Naturally, each option is not a perfect fit for every dispute. You must decide for yourself what is best.