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Good paper makes good friends


Most new small business owners rush into agreements without preparing proper paperwork. Things like work quotes, client contracts, partnership agreements and employee contracts often don’t get drawn up properly, or worse, are prepared solely by the small business owner.

It’s a fact that we live in a litigious world, where people sue each other over disagreements. Therefore, preparing good paper is a wise investment for your small business.

Follow these suggestions before entering into any formal business relationship:

– Cut, copy and paste. Go online and search for the type of document you want to create, be it a client contract or partnership agreement. Chances are you’ll find some excellent samples you can modify slightly for your purposes.

– Hire a lawyer. Next, take your edited document to a lawyer. He or she will put it into legal language and otherwise make changes designed to protect you and your business. It’s always cheaper to hire a lawyer to edit an existing document than to draft one from scratch.

– Cover everything. Be sure your final document covers all contingencies, such as what happens when a client doesn’t pay on time or when your business partner wants out of the relationship.

– Get it signed first. It’s too easy to “take care of the paperwork later” and rush ahead without it; this is a big mistake. Get your agreements signed properly before you start any client work, bring on a new employee, or do business with a new partner. With the paperwork in place, you’ll establish professionalism and start your new relationship with clear expectations, because it’s all written down.