Having serious difference of opinion or business conflict with your investors could be the most difficult challenge that any small business owner can face. It can be a very stressful time as well as nerve racking and would gobble up most of your time in figuring out what to do or how to proceed. Also the stakes involved could be very high. Here are some tips on how to deal with the situation of conflicting business strategies when you don’t see eye to eye with your investors.
Reach and Agreement Despite Differences
In the first place, your investor is not the person you should be at cross purposes with. So the first approach and the safest one would be to try and reach an agreement as quickly as possible. It is important to take a good look at your options and make a careful, gradual approach to resolving the business strategies which are creating differences. Or you may find yourself on the wrong side of a litigation, which won’t benefit anyone. Agree to disagree. It will save a lot or heartburn and sleepless nights.
Get to the Root of it
Something deep and disturbing would be the root cause of the business conflict, since normally, no one would spar with an investor. If the disagreement is long standing, reaching a resolution is of utmost importance for you to keep runnning the business. It may be that the investor thinks that he is not getting the fair share of profits. Or he may be thinking of expansion when you know it is not advisable. Talking it out and getting to the root, finding out ‘why’ will clear the air considerably. Both parties will proceed with practical expectations that will reduce the friction.
Evaluate the Issue from both Sides
Your business for you may be the only thing which you are solely dedicated to. To your investor, it may be one out of many businesses he is involved in. Try to look at it from his point of view and start making your business strategies and decisions based on that. If you are putting in most of the leg work, and are unwilling to part with a major share just to please the investor let him know it politely. Perhaps win his sympathy. You can part ways amicably, cut your losses and start afresh.
If its a ‘worst- case scenario- Just Agree
Unfortunately, the whats best for everyone situation may not work all the time. The difference in opinion or conflict in business strategies between the founder and you will show up in the work. So sometimes it is best to avoid the worst. If the business is on a downward spiral because of the unfavorable situation and constant disagreements, its best that you as the one who has everything at stake, soften up to prevent the worst from happening. Both you and the investor would surely agree upon this.
If everything else fails- take a look at your legal documents
Reviewing your legal documents would be a last option when you know that things will not work out. Carefully study the bylaws or the operating agreement. If they have been drafted properly you need not fear a nuclear fallout even in case of serious disagreements.
Deal patiently and carefully when disagreements arise with your investors and put in your best efforts to resolve the issue. If all else fails and you have to part ways, make sure that your legal documents are in order and reach a separation with mutual consent and least animosity.