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LAST WORD – Learning Business Lessons from Mistakes

By Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

Jo Haigh

Learn from your mistakes and move on, is a great business mantra but as such depends on two crucial things.

  1. Recognising and acknowledging the mistake
  2. Being able to move on.

The fact is, mistakes happen in business. Sometimes they are completely unforeseen; sometimes they are like a ‘car crash’ waiting to happen.

Internally made mistakes are perhaps less forgivable than those things that happen due to external forces, but both can create devastating results.

In all circumstances rather than taking the “whenever there’s blame there’s a claim” approach. I have found out to my substantial cost that a much better approach is needed. In the first instance let’s park the blame and sort a resolution and solution.

If not wholly satisfactory in outcome, mitigation and remediation is always my preferred route, psychologically, financially and for speed alone, all inevitably works better.

We can often overlook the small print when endeavouring to start a transaction in its early stages, but it is the niceties in the T &C’s that can ultimately give you the leverage you need to resolve an unforeseen issue.

Payment terms about reasons and dispute management may be less exciting and sexy on day one of a relationship than price agreement and outcomes, but now it is time to step back (and that’s for both partners to do) and take stock of the situation and for both to feel comfortable with how matters will be dealt with should everything not go quite to plan.

The time spent negotiating such an agreement and particularly so when all parties are working together, as opposed to sitting on opposing benches in the Court room is time well spent for both sides.

As a sale driven and customer satisfaction driven individual, I have spent my professional life concentrating on achieving desirable pre agreed outcomes. The details behind how we will deal with issues if things don’t go to plan, I have found much less galvanising, luckily for me in a regulated industry I must work under pre-agreed terms.

These have protected me and my business and kept disputes to a minimum.  It may be boring and it usually is but it’s practically inevitable.

Check, check and check again the robustness of your Terms and Conditions. Keep them up-to-date and never engage with anyone unless you are satisfied you have a signed agreement.

Jo Haigh is head of FDS corporate finance services. Jo can be contacted on 01924 376 784 or


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