Understanding Business Contract Basics
What You Should Consider in Key Business Contracts
Some things you don't need a formal contract for. Other things you have contracts for, but they are provided by a vendor or supplier and there is not much room to negotiate the terms and conditions.
But when you do have the opportunity to document a key business relationship- a vendor, a customer, a business partnership, for example- it is important to know what you need to include. Whether you do it yourself or hire a lawyer to help you, when you write a business contract that you intend to be legally enforceable, there are some essential elements that you should consider from your first discussions to the final legal document.
What is a Business Contract?
A business contract is nothing more or less than an agreement to exchange one thing for another- money for a service or product, investment of time or money in exchange for sharing the profits and losses of a new business venture. The truth is you enter into contracts every day and don't even think about it. When you hand your money, debit card or phone to the person at the coffee shop and walk down to the end to wait for your drink, you have, in probably less than 20 seconds, made a legal contract that in exchange for your money they will give you coffee.
In your small business, there are countless types of contracts that are similarly straightforward- your routine purchases, subscriptions, etc. And there are some types of contract that are not necessarily straightforward, but that you have very little control over. Examples include your phone and internet services or the "clickwrap" agreements you must accept when buying software or software subscriptions.
There are other places, however, where it is important to pay attention to your business contracts, both to make sure they serve your legal purpose but also that they are accomplishing your business goals in the transaction.
Examples of key business contracts include agreements with customers or clients, vendor contracts, and partnership or joint venture agreements.
How to Make a Business Contract
Whether it is a customer agreement, vendor contract, or any other types of contract, here are some steps you will need to take before you (or a lawyer you retain) write a business contract that will serve your business goals and be legally binding:
How We Can Help
Getting a business lawyer involved with your contracts does not mean you are doomed to drown in densely-worded, incomprehensible legal documents. We understand that your contracts are not just legal documents but documents that can help set clear expectations- that means they need to be readable by regular people. We can help make sure you have the essentials documented, so that you can do what you went into business to do without worrying about ambiguities in one of these key relationships.
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"SLN Law was clear, timely, and precise in their edits and comments on the contract they reviewed for me. They were recommended to me by a lawyer for whom I have deep respect. I would recommend their excellent work to others, as well." Carey Morewedge
"As a small business owner, I've had the best experience I could have hoped for. They've offered smart advice, like simplifying legal issues so that its clear what actions I can take. I've really appreciated the clarity I've gotten from them, and I always leave the office feeling completely capable and confident about what I need to do next. I also can't say enough about how much their firm puts my business first. They really care about making sure I do what's in my best interest and at the right time and they don't seem worried about anything else but making sure I'm doing the right thing for my company. I have a lot of confidence in recommending this group, both for their great advice and because I feel like it comes from a really good place." Ben Lappen
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