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Effective tips for handling business conflicts

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This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

Bhavin Shah, CEO of eWOMP Inc., 28, didn't like what he was hearing. Four days before the planned launch of eWOMP.com, a New York City-based Web site where you earn rewards points for sharing things you find online, the Web developers told Shah they couldn't meet the launch deadline. And much was at stake: "With a delay in launch, we stood to lose deposits and money, upset existing client relationships, jeopardize future partnerships, and lose investor confidence," recalls Shah, whose company has raised more than $2 million in angel financing and now has more than 20 employees.

How did Shah respond? The natural response would be to fly off the handle. But Shah kept the big picture in mind. "While it would have been easy to break ties [with the Web firm] at that point and start a lawsuit," he says, "we would have lost the knowledge base and product familiarity we had created in this Web development team, and that would only delay our launch even further. In an industry where competitive edge is defined by time-to-market, we realized that such a choice was unacceptable."

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