WHAT DOES YOUR CONTRACT SAY ABOUT YOU?
Consumer Side: Every contract gives an
1) What is your first impression?
2) Rate the professionalism 1 – 5.
3) Rate the trustworthiness 1 – 5.
4) Do you clearly understand what
DOES YOUR CONTRACT PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS?
Business Side: Every contract
has multiple purposes.
1) Establishes the exchange.
2) Creates a good relationship to
3) Provides safeguards.
4) Legally binding.
CREATE A GOOD
Trust & Confidence:
Every contract sets the scene.
ALLOWS YOU TO:
1) Show you understand and care.
2) Establish trust by being fair and
3) Put clients at ease with
4) Use easy to understand
What are vendors?
What has your
experience been like?
Who are your current vendors?
Do you have a written contract?
What is your level of satisfaction?
THE USUAL HIRING PROCESS:
1) The vendor sends or gives you a contract to sign.
2) You glance at it – maybe you actually read it.
3) You realize there are things missing.
4) You realize there are provisions you don’t understand.
5) You don’t ask questions.
6) You don’t negotiate.
7) You sign the contract and hope for the best.
8) A little while later, the vendor makes you mad.
9) You try to fire the vendor but can’t.
10) You get mad and leave things as they are.
SYSTEM FOR DEALING WITH VENDOR CONTRACTS:
1) Read the contract carefully. It matters.
2) Ask questions of the vendor.
3) If you don’t like the terms, negotiate them.
4) If you don’t understand the contract, talk to an attorney.
5) If you’re worried about the contract, talk to an attorney.
6) If you have a mentor, talk it over with a mentor then talk to an
7) Do not sign the contract until you are completely comfortable.
8) No crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
9) Make an informed business decision then take the risk if it’s worth
Things to Remember:
It’s always ok to negotiate.
You always have a choice.
The most successful businesses
Never Split the Difference by Chris
The Established Flyers: Most of our clients come to us once they’ve been in business for several years. They started their firms and took a lot of risks at the beginning. They were comfortable figuring things out as they went along – but they knew there were things they didn’t know. The challenge was that there was so much to focus on that they had to choose the priority that made them money. They knew that they needed to do things legally sound but there wasn’t resources to put everything in place. Now they want to stabilize and they know it’s time to put some foundations in place. No more building with toothpicks and bandaids – they know their growth needs to be supported by strong infrastructure. So they come to us to help them put that structure in place. They can then continue to grow without fear of collapse.
The Start-Off the Grounders: Just a few of our clients are start-ups. But they are special start-ups – the kind that know they need to build infrastructure and they want it in place before (or shortly after) they start. They don’t accept as much risk. These are the types of personalities who like to have everything lined up so they don’t have to worry. They want to build from the ground up. These are the only start-ups we serve because they know that the structure we offer is important and they are willing to prioritize getting it done.
Why Should You Build Infrastructure?
It builds strength in your foundation so your business can support growth.
It promotes good business by creating successful business relationships (through solid and honest contracts).
It allows you to avoid problems, and for those that are unavoidable it can help you find an easier resolution.
It increases the value of the business, which is great for when it’s time to make a transition.
You’ll be drinking from a fire hose in this class.
It will be a lot of information.
You will experience some overwhelm and discouragement.
It’s important to know what needs to be done.
Not that you have to run out and do it all at one time.
You’ll have a list of issues you will need to address.
I want you to pick ONE THING to tackle before this class ends.
The other issues on your list will go on your calendar.
You’ll pick them up and deal with them at certain points in the future.
You’ll make your decisions on what to do first based on your own priorities and circumstances.
Client vs. Customer
Contract vs. Agreement
Company vs. Business
The relationships we have with our clients don’t “end at the sale” like most businesses do – our relationships “begin at the sale”. It’s not an over-the-counter, “here’s your product and I hope to see you next time you need one”. For us service providers, the whole process starts with the hiring – they sign our contract - and the delivery of services comes afterwards.
The client relationship begins with and is defined by our service contracts. (Service contracts can be called an Engagement Agreement, a Master Services Agreement, a Scope of Work, Professional Service Contracts – and many other variations.)
Your client relationships are represented by your service contracts. We consider contracts as so much more than technicalities – they are written relationships and they must be treated with care. For some of us, the relationship can last for a long period of time.
Vendors are those businesses who provide our businesses with products and services. We are their clients. They may provide us with IT management, software subscriptions, bookkeeping, accounting, cleaning, website design, marketing, consulting, promotional products, supplies and so on. And I include landlords in this category – we rent office space from them.
Our relationships with our vendors can be short term or long term. Depending on what they are providing us, we may benefit from having a well-defined relationship in the form of a written contract. For long term relationships – or for really important services – or really expensive products – it’s critical to have a written contract – for obvious reasons.
Here’s where the problem comes up. You’re busy. You don’t like to read tedious contracts. You have so many other ways to spend the time than to read through the contract carefully and think about what it means. So you sign and move on.
Some time later, a problem with the vendor arises. The contract says what it says – and it’s not helpful to you. Now you’re stuck. You live with it or you fight it. And neither is a good solution for a small business who can’t afford to waste resources.
Building your infrastructure in this area means you have two options:
You make yourself take the time to read the vendor contracts and learn what you need to know to make good decisions – before you sign.
Or you hire someone to review the contracts for you, explain what they mean – modify them as necessary to protect you – and you look them over before you sign.