California business owners like you put endless amounts of effort, money and time into building your brand. You aid in this by branching out and making connections with other businesses. These bridges you build are crucial to your continued relevancy, success and growth.
So what happens when you get into a dispute with one of them? Needless to say, you want to rock the boat as little as possible. Alternative dispute resolution methods can help.
Why is litigation not the answer?
FINRA discusses alternative methods of dispute resolution. These methods avoid litigation, which is often an expensive and time-consuming path to take. On top of that, litigation equates to taking your case to court. This means your dispute remains public record, so future potential business partners can view it.
What is arbitration and mediation?
Instead, consider arbitration or mediation. Arbitration is similar to litigation. You take your case to an arbitrator, who listens to all parties present their arguments and evidence. Then, they make a decision that legally binds all parties. It allows for a similar stability to the outcome of a court trial. But it costs less, takes less time and allows you to avoid going on public record.
Mediation works if you do not have any severe, relation-severing issue. A professional mediator acts as third party to your dispute resolution. The brunt of the work lies with you and the other business parties. The mediator steps in if arguments get out of hand and ensures everyone has a chance to speak. They also offer ideas or opinions when possible. But they cannot hand down legally binding decisions. That work lies with you and your partners.