Instinctively, most large businesses have a lawyer on staff or on retainer and promptly resort to the threat of litigation when there is a difficulty with a customer or vendor.

I would suggest that a lawyer should only be brought in as a last resort because lawyers, or the threat of litigation escalates matters to the point where there is often a breakdown in the B2B relationship.

Smaller businesses are often more reluctant to bring in a lawyer because they know the cost incurred from a damaged or a lost B2B relationship is very high. Admittedly, they are also well aware of the out-of-pocket dollar costs in hiring an attorney to do anything.

The solution is to use mediation. The key is that by utilizing mediation to peacefully resolve a dispute the primary business relationship can be salvaged and in many cases improved. Most businesses run into problems with a key supplier or customer every now and then. Usually these difficulties can be mended informally, but at times an outside expert can be helpful by providing mediation and conciliation services.

I can help with face-to-face individual mediation, group mediation and/or phone conciliation sessions to resolve commercial conflicts.

Bringing in a lawyer may be the correct decision, but it also escalates the tension in the business relationship which is irrevocable. I can work with lawyers if they are involved, and I can also work with the parties directly to efficiently and privately settle disputes if lawyers are not wanted.