Signing a contract is a big deal. No matter what kind of cordial “We should work together” positive energy came before it, putting your name on the dotted line means that matters are coming down to brass tacks. Still, some unfortunately don’t treat the contract process as seriously as they should. And even those who treat it with the deserved reverence can still find themselves in situations that they didn’t anticipate!
So, regardless of where you stand in your experience with contracts, it’s important to keep the following in mind.
Don’t accept bare promises
No matter how many “Oh yeah, for sure” moments there might be during negotiation, all of that means little when it comes to what ends up in the contract. Someone can technically tell you anything they want, but unless it’s in the contract, those words are hollow.
If you’re involved in a business it’s likely that you have a full calendar. You’ve got a lot to worry about and even when someone’s promise is visible in the written word of a contract, take a moment to read it over. Do the ramifications of the language match up with expectations laid out in the conversation? While unfortunately some might try to change details in a contract, honest miscommunications could occur that can be caught before the final signature. Otherwise, it can put one party in a state of embarrassment, and the other in a state of anger. It’s not conducive to a great business relationship.
Don’t neglect to include small details
While the paragraph above revolved around taking a fine-tooth comb to existing writing, this revolves around looking for anything that’s not covered. If a contract seeks to see two sides working together, one item falling through the cracks could make the whole operation wobbly at worst, and even at best causes an inconvenience that either side might not have time for.
Don’t let the document grow stale
True, this tip revolves more around the “post-signing” phase, but it’s still important to keep in mind throughout the process. Not every kind of business contract will revolve around law that sees frequent updates. But Forbes contributor Jack Garson brings up the important point of keeping a contract in sync with whatever legislative efforts are ongoing. It might feel like an inconvenience, having to readdress a contract in the middle of work, but it keeps business taken care of.
When business grows, the owners and employees of said business often benefit from working in tandem with other parties through contracts. While both parties may be eager to see an endeavor make progress, that doesn’t mean that contracts should be approached in a haphazard manner. There are many resources available that can help vet contract documents and can help make sure that the next step forward is a positive one.