Do you know that single most important part of any contract? Many business owners are kicking themselves and their growth is hampered because they did not pay attention to it---and what it could do to them.
Business owners are understandably in a rush to grow their business. You have to be fast to stay ahead. You must always look to the next deal to grow your business. Software licensing, advertising contracts, link exchange agreements, service contracts, consulting arrangements, they are what you do. But in your haste to grow and make the deal, do not run past this one detail. So often your concern on any agreement boils down to two questions, "What do I have to do and what do I get?" Ask yourself one more question.
It applies to both the contract other people have you sign and the ones you have your customers sign. It doesn't matter if it is a one-page agreement or a forty-page contract in ten-point print. Ask yourself this one question.
What is the way out?
I know. It is the last thing everyone thinks about. Everyone is too focused on making the deal and not how to get out of it.
We have all heard of other businesses that found themselves stuck in a contract they cannot get out of. A hosting service has them locked into a multi year contract -forever in internet terms, or they are bound to supply a good or service at a ridiculously low price. A deal made when they needed the money too much to turn down the customer, and now they regret it.
Don't turn down business. Often if you get a lawyer involved they do more to kill the deal than help it. I suggest creating an escape hatch for an emergency.
There is another advantage in asking that question. Not only are you in a hurry to make the deal, but so is the other guy. In fact if you ask yourself, "How do I get out of this if things turn sour?" and you do not like the answer you are reading, turn it to your advantage. Make a subtle suggestion to change the wording. The other guy will usually make the change if it does not look too bad because he is also is in a rush to make the deal.
In another article I will write about guerilla tactics to modify the terms of those "Sorry I can't change it" preprinted form contracts people make you sign.
About The Author
Douglas Smith is a Boston attorney. Practicing for over seven years, he was formerly a corporate counsel and is currently retained by a governmental agency to monitor the compliance of a billion-dollar restitution program being conducted by a major U.S. corporation. Contact him for a few complimentary suggestions. http://lawfirm.webjump.com