I’m always surprised to hear of women who run pretty big businesses yet have a very minimal focus on good contracts. I obviously know all of the best practices, in fact I advise on these practices daily so it only makes sense that I would be a little over the top with my concerns, but come on ladies, it’s time to get serious about protecting your interests.

I’m sure if I flicked through your desk draw I wouldn’t be surprised at how many contacts I would find unsigned, undrafted or underdevelopment…… I can only assume my fellow ‘heel warriors’ have these holes in their top draw contracts, and so in light of our current predicament, I’m here to help by talking to you about all things contractual agreements and beyond.

Think of it like this, a strong written contract is the best possible way to protect your business from the risk of future dispute and possible litigation. By putting a strong contract in place for partnerships, employees, clients, service providers and suppliers you are safe guarding your business against the likelihood of future contract disputes, helping you to avoid nasty litigation.

Still not convinced? Check out our top 10 reasons for using contracts in your business:
1. It Limits Surprise and Confusion. A properly written and executed contract spells out the obligations and responsibilities of each party so that everyone understands what they are agreeing to.

2. It enables you to set clear deadlines. Because these deadlines are clearly defined and agreed upon and the repercussions for not meeting deadlines can be set, parties are far less likely to miss these important milestones causing conflict.

3. It enables you to limit, restrict or qualify potential liabilities. Meaning you are not going to be held responsible for things that are outside of your control and all parties understand at what point they become liable.

4. It gives you a way out. A good contract will lay out the conditions of how and when a party can terminate the contract giving you a clearly defined way out if things are not going according to plan.

5. It defines payment terms. By allowing all parties to understand how much, how it’s paid and when it should be paid by, you remove any uncertainty.

6. It sets out a process for resolving disputes. Meaning that if a problem arises there is clear direction on the steps that need to be taken to resolve the dispute. Thus meaning issues can be addressed and resolved with a minimal impact on business.

7. It enables you to protect your IP. Clauses can be built into the contract that allows parties to protect their Intellectual Property and sets out limited use arrangements.

8. It allows you to protect your confidential information. By writing a Confidential Information Clause you are ensuring that any sensitive information that arises or is shared as a part of the business arrangement is kept between the parties.

9. You avoid litigation. Litigation is bad for business for so many reasons including money,time and stress factors as well as the impact that the process will have on your business relationship which leads to the most important point…

10. You maintain good business relationships. Good business relationships are critical to the success of any business and clearly defining the expectations of both parties means that everyone is on the same page from the start meaning a much lower risk of bad blood developing due to confusion and misinterpretation.

To do a health check on your contracts by downloading your FREE Contract Audit Checklist.

Renae Thompson