There are a lot of things I’m good at when it comes to running my business. With that being said, there are plenty of areas where I still feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. What’s one of those areas? The legal side of my business.
Whether a client hands me a contract or I need to create one specifically for them, the legal language and mumbo jumbo is enough to make my head spin.
Have you ever found yourself in the position of feeling totally overwhelmed by a contract? Not quite sure what the heck to do or who on earth to turn to for help? Well, have no fear, my friends. I’ve rounded up some tips for you right here!
Yes, I know legal language can be a total nightmare to wade through. But, you can’t — I repeat, can’t — just simply skim over a contract. You absolutely need to read every last word. Read until your eyes are crossed. Read until you feel like crying. Read until you’re certain you’ve seen every last word in the entire document.
Honestly, there’s no getting the “gist” of a contract. You have to ensure that you know everything that’s in it — down to every last punctuation mark. After all, it’s a legally binding document and you’re signing your name on the bottom. You want to be sure you know what you’re agreeing to.
No offense to lawyers, but their writing style can be a wee bit confusing. This can make it challenging to identify what exactly a particular sentence or paragraph is saying.
Whenever I’m not clear on what exactly a contract is stating, I have someone else read it. That someone? It’s usually my dad. What can I say, he’s good at that kind of stuff! Sometimes he understands it and can explain it in a way that’s simple to comprehend. If he’s uncertain about what it means? Then I know it’s time to either ask questions or enlist the help of a lawyer.
Whether you’re reading a contract or writing one, it takes time. It’s not something you want to cross off your to-do list after a quick few minutes.
So, make sure you leave yourself adequate time to get it done. You don’t want to feel rushed or under pressure — that’s when you’ll end up skipping something important or forgetting to put something crucial in that new client contract!
Undoubtedly, there’s going to be times when you have no idea what a contract means. When that happens, never hesitate to reach out to the other party and ask for clarification.
Sometimes people are totally willing to answer your questions and make sure you’re on the same page. But, there might be other times when they’re not quite as cooperative. Regardless of their response, it’s at least worth trying to get some answers!
On the same token, you should prepare for the fact that you might get questions about your own contracts you’ve crafted. Be ready to answer them!
When all else fails, contact a lawyer to make sure you aren’t signing anything shady that could potentially hurt your business. Luckily, I haven’t had to contact a lawyer yet. But, I do have the contact information for one I would run to in a pinch.
You can do that same thing too! Even if you don’t foresee an immediate need for a lawyer, it’s always good to have a contact in your back pocket.
What tips do you have for dealing with business contracts? Lord knows I could use all the help I can get!
Until next time!