I seriously doubt there are many medium and small businesses that are not in turmoil in today’s business climate. The reason is the rapidity and direction of market condition changes, almost all negative.
Not having lived in this in the normal lifetime of most of us, we have little or no experience in structuring middle to long term deals in this climate.
In normal market conditions, we depend upon things like force majeure clauses that provide room to maneuver in emergencies (war and natural disasters), and upon the good faith and fair dealing provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code and similar doctrines in the state law of most states.
Those envision very unusual fluctuations that impose on contract parties short term dilemmas, and provide them a framework for sorting it out if they work together in a fair-minded manner. The ultimate essential ingredient in the proper sorting out of difficulties is a forthright ethic.
The market conditions for most businesses today more resembles a pier street brawl in terms of change rates/categories/diversity of impacts. This is not the languid low amplitude market wave environment we all know and love so well.
We can’t, without mutual consent of the parties, go back and rewrite extant agreements. Even so, I recommend that rewrites of potential problematic terms be explored. Today’s managers of your contract partners may be right thinking folks, but managements change rapidly and other agendas come into play.
In the instance of new contract negotiations, we have a window to moderate the impacts of even violent upheavals. The goal will be to construct formulae that allow the parties/guide the parties to requisite accommodations, and that provide exit strategies that are not draconian with respect to penalties.
Contract engineering expertise is especially useful and valuable here. The involved managers of all parties often benefit from mentoring in the process of getting to YES in difficult, unusual circumstances.