If you are in business for long enough, there will likely come a time when you disagree with someone over a contract. Either you feel they have breached their obligations to you, or they accuse you of failing to meet your obligations to them.
Sometimes litigation is the most appropriate course of action. But before you take this step, it’s important to pause and consider a few things:
Make sure your memory of the contract details is correct
You’d be surprised how poor people’s memory of contract details can be, and that may include you. So, the first thing you should do is to reach for the contract and read through it again. That way you can act on accurate information, not misremembered details. If there are parts you do not fully understand, get help to ensure you have the correct interpretation.
Don’t win the battle but lose the war
Contract disputes over relatively minor matters can often escalate quickly. Allowing them to do so could be detrimental to both parties. If your relationship has generally been good, then it may be worth overlooking small issues in the name of preserving the overall relationship. A short-term loss may well be worth the long-term gain.
Consider the message you may be broadcasting
Maybe you want to be known as someone who will act swiftly if someone crosses your path or lets you down. You may have a good reason for that, but, you might also put off a lot of potential business partners and clients in the process. This could be even more true if you operate in a local area where people are more community-minded than in a big city where businesses may be more cutthroat.
Above all, it’s crucial to remember that contracts are legal matters, so getting legal advice is wise to understand your options.