Owning and operating a small business is a difficult job. You often have to do the jobs of multiple people, while not drawing as much income or profit as you might if you took a job elsewhere. It can take months or even years to build up an income stream that can support you and your family. You may work long hours and teach yourself new skills, just to avoid increasing your business expenses.

You likely also rely on those that you contract with, whether they are suppliers or sub-contracted workers. When those parties fail to follow through on a contract, it can leave your small business in a precarious position. You may need to take legal steps when the other party breaches your contract.

Sometimes, you just need to remind the other party of the obligation

If you contracted with a busy company or independent contractor, it’s possible that the contract simply didn’t receive the attention it deserved from the other party. As a small business owner, you likely already understand how easy it can be to forget something when you’re focused on something else.

Sending a polite, but firm letter or email outlining how the other party has failed to meet contractual obligations may be all that you need to do. After receiving a reminder, many people will quickly do anything that they must to meet the obligations outlined in the contract. Other times, sadly, the letter will end up ignored just like the initial contract.

Breach of contract is often grounds for legal action

If you can’t get the other party to fulfill the obligations outlined in the contract and there’s no response to early efforts to resolve the issue, you may need to take legal action. Thankfully, North Carolina business and contract law protects you and your company from those who sign contracts that they have no desire or intention of upholding.

Once you realize that you will need to take legal steps to enforce your contract or pursue damages as a result of a contract breach, you should start gathering documentation. Collect pictures of unfinished work and copies of electric messages attempting to contact the other party. Review the contract to ensure that you know with certainty which obligations or requirements were not met. You can use that information as the basis for a civil lawsuit against the other company or individual.

In some cases, your contract may outline penalties for those who fail to perform. In other cases, you may simply want to seek reimbursement for losses related to the breach. Make sure you document financial costs, lost business and other negative consequences to better support your case in court. You need to take steps to stand up for your business when someone else endangers it through breach of contract.