When building your business, you can’t do everything alone. You need business partners, employees, contractors, third party service providers, brand ambassadors, retailers. The list goes on. It literally takes a village to bring your business from concept through to the marketplace. Each one of these relationships entails a transaction: services to be supplied in exchange for compensation. But there are also additional expectations that are likely required to be met in order for the business relationship to be successful: confidentiality, deliverables, quality assurance, payment terms etc.
The best way to ensure that the business relationship is successful is to contractually bind the other party to those terms, in writing. Not to be overly cynical, but let’s do away with the “gentleman’s handshake”. It will get you nowhere when your business relationship goes sideways. Going forward, repeat the mantra: “I will get it [the agreed upon business relationship] in writing!” A written agreement clarifies the relationship, provides enhanced enforcement rights and clearly sets out each parties’ rights, responsibilities and obligations.
For the most part, agreements should be customized to fit the specific nuances of the business deal at hand. This article provides an overview of some of the terms that should be included in an agreement and the nuances of how those terms should be addressed.