The chances are you are very much like most West Michigan small business owners. Cash flow and business development are always on the forefront of your mind. Sometimes money can be tighter than others but through the ebb and flow of the good times and the bad those concerns always remain prevalent to some extent. That is why it is so important to avoid disputes and find alternatives to costly litigation.
Whitehall, Michigan is a small community in Muskegon County near the lakeshore. There is an ongoing dispute over a Wal-Mart store that developers want to put in near US 31. Many local business owners and community members do not want to see the super store spring up in their community. The dispute is still in its infancy period but there is one thing that those fighting the store are discovering: this fight is going to be very costly.
We all know Wal-Mart is a giant with $445 billion in annual sales. Hiring attorneys, architects, developers, experts, and more is a drop in the bucket for them. They can easily drop a couple million dollars into this dispute and it barely will register on Wal-Mart’s bottom line.
The issue becomes how much money does it take to counter the effort by Wal-Mart? Can the Whitehall contingent fighting the installation of the store put up $2 million? The even bigger problem becomes that if the store is blocked, there will likely be subsequent litigation that will attack Whitehall Township by the property owners to seek the compensation they would have received if Wal-Mart purchased and developed their property.
While disputes are generally not with one of the biggest super stores in the world, your small business doesn’t have a contingent of other business owners and community members supporting your efforts either. So while any dispute you might face will be smaller than the one discussed here there are lessons that can be taken away.
Disputes are costly. You are likely not going to have the expertise to resolve the dispute on your own so you are going to have to hire others to assist you. If the dispute does go to court, your business will be required to hire a litigation attorney and there will likely need to be experts involved too. Even more, this dispute will eat up a lot of your time which could be used to advance your small business.
Even when you win you lose. You might be totally in the right and come out on top of your dispute, but through any number of factors you end up losing. Your reputation can take a hit, you can turn off potential partner businesses, you might not be able to collect any money, and so many more things can go wrong as a result of the dispute.
Having a small business attorney that has experience with litigation can be a great asset to you when these issues creep up. While they have the ability to see you through a dispute even if it becomes a lawsuit, because you have an ongoing relationship they want to resolve the dispute quickly. If you wait until you have a problem and contact a litigation attorney that attorney is going to want to litigate because that is what they get paid to do. Your small business attorney gets paid to make sure your small business is successful and thus wants to find the best possible solution to your problem. This is on top of the other services your small business attorney can provide you that can help you avoid potential disputes too.
So don’t be afraid to contact a Grand Rapids small business attorney and start saving your small business money today.
Source: “Frankenmuth lesson: Whitehall Township officials find fighting Wal-Mart can be costly” by Dave Alexander