Your First Business Mediation: What to Do
As a small business owner having legal problems with a vendor or another company, the idea of paying for an expensive trial process can seem frightening. Luckily, if you and the other side agree, you can instead go through a business mediation process. In such a case, the mediator will hear from both sides and help you work toward a solution. In order to have a mediation that works for you and the opposing party, adhere to the advice below.
Allow Your Opponent to Find a Mediator
The person overseeing the business mediation will be the mediator. Ideally, this person is an impartial party and has a deep understanding of the issues that are being discussed. To show your willingness to engage in the process, allow the opposing party to be in charge of locating and choosing a mediator. This may make them more likely to enter the mediation with a more relaxed mindset.
It's important, though, that you do some investigation of the mediator that is selected to determine whether there is any kind of conflict of interest. In that case, make your concerns known and ask for another person.
Present All Relevant Documents
Even though both sides are already well aware of the situation at hand, it's a good idea to be able to present relevant documents to the mediator. Not having the right documents on hand can create delays that the mediation was supposed to eliminate. If you cannot present all relevant documents during your first meeting, be able to set a definite date when those documents will be available to the mediator.
Be Open to Ideas
While you might firmly believe in your own position during the mediation, you have a duty to pay attention to the mediator's questions and solution ideas. While you don't have to accept every proposed solution, do your best to show the mediator that you are considering their thoughts and present your own responses in a calm, logical way. Avoid becoming strident and uncompromising, as at any point the opposing party can request a trial instead, which may not be in your own plans.
Business mediation can help you and your business save time and a good deal of money. However, if you are not satisfied with the mediation process, you can still take the matter to trial. Talking through the situation with your business attorney will help you comprehend what the best choices are in your situation.