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We've all heard the cliché "Get it in writing"

The fact is, it's a cliché for one main reason: it's true.  When starting a business, it's easy to just wing it, set up shop and hope for the best.  But taking time in the beginning to establish clear agreements or contracts will save a lot of time, headaches and potentially a lot of money in the long run.

Here are three areas where getting something in writing will be beneficial for a new business:

    • Business partners:  Whether you incorporate or operate a partnership, having a clear agreement in writing between the major players is a must.  I can't count the number of times I've heard the phrase "I trusted him/her" when approached by a client in a dispute.  Partnership agreements are particularly invaluable for outlining the responsibilities of each partner, management of finances, procedures for buy-out or dissolution and dispute resolution.  Without an agreement, you may end up in a long, drawn-out negotiation or an even longer court proceeding.

    • Clients:  Many people, particularly those providing services rather than goods, rarely think of asking their clients to sign a contract.  But if you clearly define up front the services that are included, the costs involved and the terms of payment, you will likely find yourself facing fewer client complaints while receiving payments more promptly.

    • Employees:  An employment contract not only outlines the rights and responsibilities of you and your employee, but it also can be invaluable if you have a unique product or service.  Adding a non-competition clause will protect you from having an employee work for you, learn your secrets and then set up a competing business.

    Republished from Business In Vancouver