Have you ever signed a business agreement or contract without reading it all the way through? Sadly, almost all of us have one time or another and it is something we should never do, said attorney Jay Reilly of Saul Ewing LLP at a CEO Roundtable held at Launch Workplaces in Gaithersburg on February 16 called, “The Basics of Writing Your Own Contracts.” Contractual language can be daunting, but it shouldn’t prevent you from understanding what you are signing. There are no stupid questions when it comes to your business and your money.
Legalese aside, all contracts have this basic structure: what services are being provided; how will the services be provided and for how long; how are they being paid for; who is providing the services; who owns what is being created; what else will be done; what if something goes wrong; and how can the agreement be terminated. Both parties should clearly understand what the expectations are in a contract. It’s OK to ask clarifying questions until a mutual understanding is reached, and the words in the contract says what you think it’s supposed to say. If the other side can’t clearly explain what the words are supposed to say and how the provision works, or if you don’t think the words say what the other side says they say, then don’t sign until you are happy, advises Jay. If you don’t understand it, chances are they don’t either or they could be trying to pull a fast one! Jay ended the workshop by presenting attendees with a free sample of a Consulting Services Agreement – seven pages of value provided by an experienced business attorney.
The CEO Roundtable held at Launch Workplaces provided an opportunity for small business owners to connect and learn from each other and gain valuable business advice. Want to join us? Check out our Events page for our upcoming seminars. Jay Reilly will be returning to Launch Workplaces in May.