Can you believe the year is almost over? Are you focused on planning for next year? Or, are you so focused on finishing this year, you haven’t even made it to next year?
Me? I am working on some new systems and a new approach to legal that will help you see how legal impacts every aspect of your business. (And trying to finish out this year!) More importantly, I am working to give you a road map to make sure you build a firm foundation.
Much of that is in contracts and how each relationship you have should be reduced to writing. But, that involves systems. It involves planning. And that is what much of my focus for next year will be.
How do you make sure you have all of your relationships properly documented?
Contracts are self-contained explanations of a relationship between two parties. Contracts are the agreements you should have in place with every person or entity you work with in your business.
Contracts are how we define business. Even if we don’t realize it.
You have a contract with every person or entity with which you do business. It doesn’t matter if the contract is in writing, it exists. The writing simply helps prove what your agreement was if you disagree. The contract exists, even if it isn’t written down. Even if it is only in an email or a transaction that happened.
It doesn’t matter if your business is a service business, an online business, or a retail business you can benefit from having strong contracts and policies to outline your relationship with those who pay you for goods or services. Most of the relationships involve an exchange of money for goods or services. It doesn’t matter what you offer in your business when it comes to making sure you define how money exchanges hands. No matter what you offer, you need to clearly outline, among other things, what you offer, how much it costs, and what are your rights if it isn’t paid. You also need to consider what types of refund rights you may offer.
When you are planning your business and figuring out what relationships you have with the outside world. In most cases, your relationships might be broken down into those who are paying you and those who you pay. So, let’s look at these types of relationships.
A few weeks ago, we talked about the Three Pillars of a Firm Foundation. I have been thinking a lot about those pillars of a foundation. This week, I have been focused on the external protections that you need. When you are planning your business and figuring out what relationships you have with the outside world. In most cases, your relationships might be broken down into those who are paying you and those who you pay. So, let’s look at these types of relationships.
Those Who Pay You
Those Who You Pay
- Independent Contractors
No matter what your business, you have relationships like these. Are they documented? Have you reduced it to writing?
In some cases, such as in retail, you are not going to get a signature every time someone buys something from you. So, how do you document the relationship? How do you let your customers know what happens if checks are returned or if they need to return something? These are elements of your agreement with your customer. As you develop the systems in your business, you need to think about how to reduce those relationships to writing.
Of course, I will be here to guide you through that process. So, please let me know if you have any questions about creatively documenting your relationships. Our world is changing and documenting agreements is not always as simple as signatures on paper.
Have you found creative ways to document your terms and relationships with customers, vendors, or other third parties? If so, I would love to hear more about them!