There are numerous inevitabilities that come hand in hand with becoming a small business owner and contracts are one of them. You’re bound to engage with them at various points along your journey. Now, a lot of the time, you will be simply signing contracts as a consumer yourself – whether these might be commercial property contracts, energy and broadband contracts for your store or offices, or contracts with suppliers who are providing you with the basic components for your manufacturing process. This is easy. All you have to do is read the contract, check that you agree to the terms and conditions, and sign it. However, there are various situations in business where you may find that you need to draw up a contract of your own for your own customers and clients to sign. This is a little more difficult. After all, in the process you take on the responsibility of drawing up a legal document. So, to help you along the way, here’s everything you need to do to make sure you get everything right first time round.
Drawing the Contract Up
Let’s start with drawing the contract up. A contract is a legally binding document. It is what ensure your customer or client makes payments of agreed sums of money on agreed dates for an agreed length of time. So you need to make sure that you get the wording spot on. After all, you don’t want anyone to find a loophole. This could result in them receiving your products or services, not actually having to make any payment, and you making a significant loss. So, pair up with a legal professional who specialises in contract writing. A brief consultation will allow them to understand your aims and concerns. They can then ensure that the final document is problem-free and enforceable.
Maintaining the Contract
Contracts require management. It’s not as simple as just getting someone to sign on the dotted line. First of all, you need to store your contract safely. If the other party starts failing to meet their part of the agreement, you need to be able to prove what they agreed to and when should things be taken to court. If things go well, you may want to renew the contract, but this means focussing on Contract Lifecycle Management. So, whether things go well or not, you need to dedicate time and effort to maintaining and managing your contracts. Don’t just consider the matter done and dusted once you’ve gained a signature!
Ending a Contract
Most contracts run their due course. However, if you do want to end a contract early, you’re going to have to negotiate with the other party. You both have to agree that you are happy for the contract to end. If one party doesn’t agree, you have no choice but to allow the contract to run its full course. If the other party is reluctant, you may be able to buy your way out of the contract.
These are just some of the basics when it comes to professional contracts, but hopefully the information has helped to give you a good starting point to work forward from!