Before you shake hands and "seal the deal", make sure you have your contracts in place FIRST! What's a "Contract"? It's defined as: a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law." All parties must sign the contracts. It is imperative that you have contracts in place to protect your business. Here are 5 Small Business Contracts you should have:
If you're in business with someone other than yourself, you definitely need a written agreement. A contract will help you clearly outline who contributes what, how and when one gets paid, ownership, how decisions are made as well as the role each person will take on in the business.
Non Disclosure Agreement
Non Disclosure Agreements may come into play when you're working on a project that requires you to share proprietary information with an outside source. "Proprietary Information" is Information that is not public knowledge(such as certain financial data, test results or trade secrets) and that is viewed as the property of the holder. (Business dictionary.com). This includes financial and forecast information, mobile app, customer lists, business and marketing plans.
Independent Contractor Agreements
It's best practice to have an Independent Contractor Agreement in place for a number of reasons. Whether you're hiring employees on a contractual basis, or outsourcing a function of your business. The agreement includes verbiage that clearly outlines the employee relationship, employee responsibilities such as paying taxes, and other work related information.
A Service Contract or General Contract for services, defines the relationship between your business and your client. A Service Contract details the service provided, price, deposit, duration of the service, obligations and more.
Once you've reached a point in your business where you need to hire employees, make sure you have an Employee Agreement in place. The document specifies the rights and obligations of both the employee and employer. Agreements typically include information such as the position and or title held at your company, salary, benefits, confidentially , social media rules, the name and address of the business. It's also common to have employees sign both a Non Disclosure Agreement as well as an Employee Agreement.
Contracts essentially, protects your brand against liabilities. Having your services clearly outlined in your agreements, helps establish a good relationship with your vendors and employees. Prior to hiring employees, make sure you provide a contract that details employee rights, obligations, job duties, and social media rules. Always consult with an attorney and have them draft your contracts. Research each contract that suits your business, before meeting with an attorney to ensure you have an understanding of your legal documentation. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Again, you want to ensure that you understand your legal obligations and liabilities.