You’ve got a brilliant business idea that you know will take off. Now what? How do you ensure your business idea or growth strategy is protected and successful?
After working with hundreds of start-up business owners through Love Your Legals, I’ve identified three key areas to act on ASAP.
1: Protect your Ideas and Business Information
It’s easy to protect your fantastic new ideas and business information with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). They aren’t just for big businesses and famous people! You need to provide an NDA to people you share your business information with to help you in your business, including business coaches, web designers, graphic designers, and bookkeepers.
There is an NDA template in the Love Your Legals Template shop, which is affordable and easy to use for any start-up business. An NDA is critical in making people aware of the expectations of how you want your discussions and business information treated. It can feel like ‘overkill’ when you’re getting started, but we promise it’s worth it when your business takes off!
We also suggest you resist the temptation to ask for feedback or advice about your new business idea on a public forum. You risk someone taking that idea and developing it while you are thinking about it. Instead, it is always best to do your due diligence in private conversations with experts who have agreed to keep your discussions confidential.
2: Always Request a Service Agreement from your Suppliers and Ensure it Works for you!
Many of us are in the habit of simply accepting terms and conditions without reading or understanding them. We can’t negotiate the terms of service with Facebook, or Google for example. However, you CAN and SHOULD make requests to adjust a service agreement in many other circumstances, so it works for your business situation.
Be sure to ask for Terms and Conditions or a Service Contract WHENEVER you engage someone to support your business development. For example, when you hire a business coach, a web designer, a graphic designer. And read them. If you find it difficult to understand the Service Agreement (too much jargon or legalistic), send it back to them with that feedback and request a more reader-friendly version that provides meaningful information about the promised services and working relationship.
Do not hesitate to negotiate if you don’t agree with something or would like to negotiate a change. Don’t be afraid to email your concerns and requests for changes. A Service Agreement is a contract. Contracts are platforms for negotiation before proceeding and payment.
Once you are working together, it is also possible to review and update terms. If the past two years haven’t taught us anything, it is that business circumstances can change radically and quickly, and a service agreement adjustment is needed to reflect that situation.
3: Make Sure your Service Agreement is Meaningful for your Business and Your Clients
All too often, I come across Service Agreements that don’t reflect the actual service provided. I am, of course, in the habit of reading the service agreements I receive from my service providers. Unfortunately, service Agreements that are disconnected to the business they are meant to protect are at risk should there ever be a dispute with the arrangement.
It’s vital to ensure that your Service Agreement makes sense to you and your clients. Consider having your Service Agreement custom drafted so that the structure and content is written in the voice of your business, reflects the branding and is meaningful and resonate with your clients and customers. The person with the contract is the person who is empowered. Your client will have to request amendments if needed, and you can decide to enforce your Service Terms or set them aside or amend them as requested.
Custom service agreement drafting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right person asking appropriate questions, it can be relatively straightforward. You can find all the details on the Love Your Legals custom drafting solutions here.
There is one further insight that I’d love to remind you of, too – HAVE FUN! Starting and growing a business is a significant achievement, which understandably comes with some obligations identified above. But, if you can enjoy the ride, it makes the success all the sweeter.
We love nothing more than being able to share our skills and knowledge with you – the business owner – and to not only help you understand your business legals but help you fall in LOVE with them. Request a free 10 minute consultation today!