Business disputes with commercial mediation [GUIDE]

Business disputes with commercial mediation [GUIDE]
Magda Parker
Magda ParkerAmani Consultancy

Posted: Tue 2nd Apr 2024

In the fast-paced world of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and solopreneurship, disputes and disagreements can arise as quickly as opportunities.

This is where commercial mediation presents itself as an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs looking to resolve disputes efficiently and constructively.

The power of commercial mediation

Commercial mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates discussions between disputing parties to help them find a mutually acceptable solution. Unlike litigation, mediation is less formal and faster and allows for more creative solutions that serve the interests of all parties involved.

Benefits for SMEs and solopreneurs

  • Cost-effectiveness

Mediation avoids the high costs of court proceedings, making it a financially viable option for businesses mindful of their budget.

  • Time-saving

Resolving disputes through mediation can be significantly quicker than waiting for a court date, allowing entrepreneurs to focus on running their businesses.

  • Preserve relationships

Mediation helps maintain and sometimes even strengthen business relationships by fostering a cooperative rather than an adversarial atmosphere. This approach demonstrates to clients, partners and competitors that your business values and prioritises constructive dialogue and long-term relationships over winning at all costs.

  • Control and flexibility

Parties have more control over the outcome in mediation and can tailor practical and beneficial solutions for their unique situation.

  • Confidentiality

Unlike public court cases, mediation is a private process, which is public and can attract unwanted media attention, mediation is a confidential process. This privacy allows businesses to resolve disputes without airing their dirty laundry, protecting their brand image and customer trust.

  • Reputation management

A brand's perception significantly impacts its success, with resolving disputes playing a key role in forming public and industry opinions. I think addressing negative reviews and feedback amicably is crucial. This approach can significantly enhance your reputation, demonstrating your dedication to maintaining healthy business relationships and upholding high service standards.

In a competitive business environment, the reputational capital gained through effective conflict resolution can be invaluable, setting a foundation for long-term success and growth advancement.

  • Demonstrates leadership and responsibility

Choosing mediation highlights a business leader's commitment to responsible conflict resolution. It positions them as pragmatic, forward-thinking and dedicated to sustainable business practices. This can enhance their reputation among peers, customers and within their industry, potentially opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

  • Enhances customer trust

Customers are increasingly interested in the ethics and values behind the brands they support. By opting for mediation, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs signal their commitment to fairness, integrity and the wellbeing of their business relationships. This can strengthen customer loyalty and attract a clientele that values ethical business practices.

  • Agile resolution reflects business efficiency

The speed and efficiency of mediation also reflect positively on a business's operational capabilities. A swift resolution of disputes suggests that the company is well-managed and capable of overcoming challenges effectively, enhancing its reputation for competence and reliability.

How can a mediator provide support?

For example, as a mediator specialising in commercial disputes, I bring experience and a deep understanding of the challenges SMEs and solopreneurs face.

  • Expert guidance

I facilitate productive and respectful dialogues, guiding parties through the complexities of their dispute to find common ground.

  • Strategic insight

With a keen understanding of business operations and dynamics, I help identify underlying issues and potential areas for agreement.

  • Customised solutions

Recognising that each business is unique, I support crafting creative and personalised solutions that address your enterprise's needs and goals.

  • Resource optimisation

My goal is to help you resolve disputes in a manner that conserves your time and resources, allowing you to return your focus to growing your business.

  • Neutrality

This unique position allows mediators to guide discussions in a way that encourages open and honest communication, enabling each party to express their views and concerns without the fear of bias or judgment. They use this insight to help navigate the conversation towards areas of mutual understanding and potential agreement.

Unlike judges or arbitrators, mediators do not make decisions for the parties. Instead, they empower participants to control their disputes and work towards a mutually satisfactory resolution.

The mediator's neutrality is crucial for maintaining a balanced process. It ensures that the mediation environment is perceived as safe and equitable, allowing all voices to be heard.

This neutrality also extends to handling information; mediators keep the discussions confidential, encouraging parties to share openly without fear of repercussions outside the mediation session.

Ultimately, the goal of a mediator is to guide the parties towards a resolution that they can all accept, ensuring that the outcome is sustainable and preserves or even strengthens relationships. This approach addresses the immediate conflict and promotes a culture of constructive dialogue and mutual respect, which can benefit future interactions between the parties.

Case study #1: Business-to-business commercial dispute resolution through mediation


An SME manufacturing company was embroiled in a dispute with one of its key suppliers. The conflict centred around a disagreement over the quality of materials supplied. The manufacturer claimed the supplies did not meet the agreed specifications, affecting its production line and leading to significant delays in fulfilling customer orders.


The dispute threatened the long-standing relationship between the manufacturing company and the supplier and posed a risk to the manufacturer's reputation with its clients. Legal action would have been costly and time-consuming, potentially damaging their partnership beyond repair and impacting the financial health of both businesses.

Mediation process

Amani Consultancy was engaged to facilitate a resolution. I worked to establish a constructive dialogue between both parties, allowing them to express their concerns and explore the underlying issues contributing to the dispute. Through several mediation sessions, I helped both parties understand each other's perspectives and business pressures.


The mediation process culminated in a mutually agreeable solution where the supplier agreed to replace the substandard materials and provide a discount on the next order to compensate for the production delays.

In return, the manufacturing company committed to a revised, more detailed specification for future orders to prevent misunderstandings. The resolution preserved their business relationship, avoiding court costs and maintaining their reputations.

Case study #2: Business-to-client dispute resolution for a solopreneur


A freelance graphic designer faced a dispute with a client over a commissioned project. The client was dissatisfied with the final deliverable, claiming it did not meet the project brief's requirements and refused to make the final payment.


The disagreement could tarnish the graphic designer’s reputation in the freelance community and result in financial loss. Traditional legal proceedings could draw negative attention to both parties and strain the solopreneur's limited resources.

Mediation process

Amani Consultancy was commissioned to resolve the conflict. As the mediator, I encouraged open communication through the mediation sessions, allowing the client to articulate specific areas of dissatisfaction and the graphic designer to explain the creative decisions. This process revealed a miscommunication about the project's scope and expectations.


A resolution was reached wherein the graphic designer offered to make specific revisions to the project to better align with the client's expectations and the client agreed to pay a portion of the remaining fee upfront, with the balance due upon completion of the revisions.

This solution maintained the professional relationship and avoided further damage to the graphic designer’s reputation, showcasing my role as a mediator in facilitating a constructive and creative resolution to the dispute.


For SME entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, commercial mediation offers a pathway to resolving disputes aligned with the realities of running a business. It’s an approach that addresses the immediate conflict and supports your enterprise's long-term health and success.

Relevant resources

Magda Parker
Magda ParkerAmani Consultancy

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