When a minor dispute with customers, vendors, employees, business partners, and neighboring businesses cans into a big problem for small businesses, many business owners turn to mediation.
While larger corporations face the same types of problems as small businesses, their resources and size give them the luxury to pursue litigation, while small businesses typically have neither the time, money, or resources to invest in a costly court case.
In addition, large corporate executives are far removed from the daily interactions with customers, employees, vendors, and neighboring businesses, whereas, a small business owner sees these people on a day to day basis and one small dispute could have negative effects on not only their business, but their quality of life and status in the neighborhood.
This is why many small businesses turn to alternative resolution for disputes such as mediation as a cost-effective way to resolve business disputes.
What is mediation?
It is a process of bringing in a neutral third party person, called a mediator, to meet with the two parties in conflict, listen to their interests, and draft an agreement that meets both parties' needs.
The two parties in dispute can hire a mediator by the hour to help negotiate an agreement. Usually, for a small business dispute, issues can be resolved in just a few hours. Some mediators are also attorneys. Small business owners may desire an attorney-mediator who has intricate knowledge of business laws.
Most mediation sessions are successful and result in an agreement signed by both parties. If the mediation is not successful, both parties still have the option of taking the dispute to court.
For many small businesses mediation is extremely beneficial when the party they're in dispute with is a person or group of people that they see on a daily basis. Mediation can be done quickly so that a small business can return to serving their community without the stress of disputes.