When you're starting your business, it seems like there are more things to do than there are hours in the day. Just like many other business owners, you're probably feeling overwhelmed and just want someone to take some of the work off your plate. It's common in these situations for you to crack and go to a website to download a "One-Size-Fits-All" contract to use for your business. Many times it is longer than it needs to be (a marketing ploy by the website to make you feel like you got more value for your money). There are all kinds of extra terms and clauses that your business doesn't need, but you feel like it makes your business "look" better to have a long, involved contract. Often, this contract will "work" for your business merely because you don't run into anyone who either contests it in some way or seeks to negotiate it. But once someone actually reads it and sees all the unnecessary terms, you may end up with a headache you never intended.
Your Contracts Should Grow With Your Business
Just because you start your business using an outsized contract doesn't mean you have to continue using it. Just like in estate planning, it's good to have your contracts reviewed every few years to make sure they are still a good fit for your business. You'll often find that your contracts are either
- Longer Than They Need to Be
- Missing Terms/Clauses
- Written in Hard to Read Language
- Have Clauses Don't Apply to Your Business
As a general rule, business law tends to be pretty consistent. Once you've put together a good contract for your business, you can use it for a long time. You and your clients will get used to the language and it will become one less thing that you need to worry about.
But something else you will probably notice over time is that there are common questions or issues that seem to arise with your contract. It's probably not anything large that would motivate you to change the language, but just some little annoyances. And then, as time wears on, there are more and more little annoyances that seem to be adding up. Even though you've become a pro at dealing with them, it's still taking an unnecessary amount of time from your work to handle these issues.
What you are experiencing is common for a business. It's a good sign, one that shows you are growing as a business. But these little annoyances don't need to continue to take up your time. They simply mean it's time to have your contracts reviewed by an attorney.
A Quick Contract Check-Up
Just like you check up with your doctors, you can also check in with your attorney to make sure your contract is serving its intended purpose. And if there are changes that need to be made, you can work with your attorney to get those done. In some cases, you may be in line for an entirely new contract. But in many cases, it may just be that you need to update some clauses in your contract.
I'm working with a few clients now where we put together their contracts about five years ago and now their businesses have grown and they are facing different challenges. Those initial contracts we created were the right ones for where their business was, but now it's time to utilize the contracts to help their business continue to grow.
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If you need contracts drawn up for your business or if you've realized that now's a good time to have a check-up to see if your contracts could use some fine-tuning, let's set up a Legal Strategy Session and review the best options for you and your business.