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Litigation may seem like it’s always around the corner when you’re dealing in the business world. But waiting for it to come to you is rarely the best option when there are steps you can take to lessen the likelihood that it ever happens.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a large corporation or a small business, going to court over disputes can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes the best way to handle the heavy price of litigation is to avoid the process altogether.

Covering your assets

Taking precautionary measures can make all the difference:

  • Get everything in writing: Verification can be essential when things are starting to go south between you and a business partner. Make sure every agreement you offer or accept is put down on paper, so you can revisit it when the need arises. This works for the terms of any deals, but also for how you plan on dealing with disputes. Mediation, jurisdiction and more can all be outlined in drafted contracts.
  • Read everything in writing: Getting everything in writing is a good start, but you’ll likely want to make sure you read it all, too. Making sure the deal as you agreed to it is intact can be essential for protecting your business. The fine print is where things can get away from you, and not having read the contract generally isn’t a good enough excuse to get by.
  • Keep communications open: Clear and consistent contact can make all the difference when avoiding litigation. You can likely deal with small problems before they reach a boiling point, and you may be able to placate partners before situations are beyond repair.
  • Be careful who you do business with: Know who you’re dealing with. Companies tend to leave trails that indicate how they do business, and their methods aren’t likely to change on a dime. If a party is known for causing trouble, not living up to expectations or subverting their responsibilities, it’s not likely it’ll be any different now.
  • Plan ahead: It’s nearly impossible to read the future. Owning a business can be a complicated venture, especially when you can control those that you enter into agreements with. Prepare for the best, but also lay plans for the worst. Have a playbook in place for when things don’t go according to expectations, like an established legal strategy.

Avoiding litigation can be a top priority for any business, no matter the size. Following a few simples guidelines and remaining vigilant could make the difference when it comes to defending your interests.

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