Written By: Jessica Passman, COO & General Counsel for Femfessionals
You just had an outstanding business meeting with a true meeting of the minds. You discussed, agreed, and this deal is going to take your business to the next level. Of course there will be a written agreement, right? Regardless of the simplicity of the deal and whether an agreement is required legally, get everything in writing.
Oral agreements, while they can be legally binding [if permitted by law], are not a good idea. Sounds like common sense? Well, we often find ourselves in situations where we trust the other party and the deal is so simple, it just makes sense to leave it to a proverbial handshake.
Further, we often receive an agreement or some kind of document stating the responsibilities of each party but leaves out the legal stuff, i.e. what happens if she doesn’t perform or things are simply not working out. Sometimes we don’t like to think about those things but we must.
You want things in writing for the following 2 reasons:
- To show the deal / arrangement in substantial detail; and
- For your protection.
Negotiate. If you want something included, ask for it. Some people are natural negotiators and negotiate everything. While others feel anxious when negotiating. In fact, they feel so anxious, they would prefer to accept any deal as is. Regardless of which type resonates with you, if you want something ask for it. You would be surprised how often the answer will be yes. Also, you want to make sure you are getting the best arrangement for you, and that you feel really good about doing the deal once everything is final and signed. Put any intimidation aside. Over time, you will become more confident and better at the process. It can actually be fun!
Every Word Matters. Finally, make sure you read each and every word of anything you plan on signing or agreeing to. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, hire an attorney. Do not let the other party explain to you what you are agreeing to. Make sure you understand the document by reading it yourself or having it explained to you by your attorney. No one knows everything and there is nothing wrong with hiring someone. If the agreement is beyond your understanding, or you want a second opinion, hire an attorney. There are plenty of wonderful attorneys that can provide a quick review and their feedback at a very reasonable price [totally worth it!].
This is your business, your deal. Make sure that you have your best interest at the forefront always. Do not let intimidation, doubt or anxiety get in your way. Have confidence in yourself, your business and your decision-making ability. You are responsible for your protection, prosperity and ultimate success!