I want to make sure you get the most out of your legal documents. After all, having it is only half the protection. You need to make sure your agreement is there for you when you need it. Here are a few of ways to make sure your agreement is working for you to protect your business as it grows and make sure you can enforce your rights if it ever comes to that.
Use Your Agreement With Everyone
I mean everyone. It doesn’t matter how well you know a person. Use the agreement to document every relationship you have in your business that applies to that agreement. (You should have a written agreement that documents every relationship that exists in your business.) Even if your brother wants to work with you, make sure you use your agreement to document the business relationship you create.
Develop a System to Store Your Agreements
Agreements are not helpful if you do not have a signed copy of the agreement. Make sure, when you send an agreement to be signed (in PDF), you receive a signed copy back. I recommend an electronic signature service if you are regularly signing documents. That way, with a few clicks of a button, you can have everything signed and know you have a copy of it if you ever need it. Also, make sure to keep any correspondence, emails, or any other notes you made regarding each relationship and each agreement in a file. It is okay if your file is electronic, just make sure you have access to it. That way, if you ever need it, you know where everything is.
Document Changes in Terms
If you agree to make changes to the agreement or you adjust your payment due dates or fees you are charging, make sure to put it in writing. Every time. Verbally agreeing to modify a part of your agreement without having anything in writing can create problems if you ever need to enforce your agreement. So, make sure you get it in writing or you may inadvertently create a new contract.
Work these tips into your system. Use this whenever you develop a new agreement or you make changes to an old one. Your legal can only help if you use it properly and you can locate everything when you need it. But, you need to make sure it is second nature to you to document everything in a way that you can use it if you ever need it.