Contract Agreements Every Small Business Should Have in Place

It might be tempting to seal a deal with a handshake. After all, verbal formalities just slow things down—and as a small business owner, you've got countless other things to do to run your business. However, having the proper contracts in place will give you and your business solid legal protection should the need arise.

How to Know When You Need a Contract

Do you sometimes lie awake at night wondering what will happen if your biggest customer doesn't pay you? How about if the vendor handling your website upgrade takes off with your thousand-dollar down payment? These scenarios would be a nightmare for any bootstrapping entrepreneur—and they happen all the time.

Intellectual Property Awareness

What happens if you’re trying to do business on a national or global level?  One thing is certain. You’re going to have intellectual property issues to deal with. And you may not even realize that these issues exist. Here are a few things to think about in determining whether you need outside help.

Why People Don’t Seek Legal Counsel

Many people who are in a situation where they could really use legal counsel choose not to get it. There are a number of reasons for this, including personality, intimidation, and cost concerns. Managing these issues will help you determine whether you need to seek outside help.

Traps with Self Help

Small business owners are naturally do-it-yourselfers, and that instinct can spring up when legal issues arise. While there are plenty of self-help books and websites available that promise to save dollars in the short term, this can be risky. You have to know which resources to trust, and which to avoid.

Setting Expectations with Your Attorney

When you hire an attorney, you need to make sure that everyone involved understands how fees will be handled. You have to manage expectations so that there are no surprises for anyone. It can be an expensive service, so know what you’re getting and what you’re paying for it.

Getting the Right Legal Service

Like doctors, lawyers are specialists. The key to getting great legal service is finding the right lawyer from the beginning. The attorney you know who specializes in criminal defense might not be the best option for business agreements and contracts.

Controlling Legal Costs

As a small business owner, you want to be as efficient as possible with your money. Legal costs are an important part of that equation. You can prevent your legal costs from becoming a big problem with a few basic controls.

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