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Remain Calm

How to defuse difficult situations.

This story appears in the May 1998 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

What do you do when: A customer returns damaged merchandise you know left your store in excellent condition . . . a supplier promises overnight delivery of vital computer parts that show up a week later . . . a friend's son you hired part time makes a habit of arriving for work late and leaving early?

You might fire your helper, find a new supplier and tell your customer to keep the item she broke. Or you could adopt a more positive approach to solving the conflicts you're bound to encounter running your small business. Here, four successful entrepreneurs explain what strategies worked for them to keep a disagreement from erupting into a full-blown confrontation.

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