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Hope you’re hanging in there with all the quarantines and social distancing. Whenever I get a little restless, I remember that there’s always an email to write, a video to film or contract template to create. That keeps me busy! Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about change and how abruptly it can occur in life and business. Let’s go over a few steps you can take when negotiating changes in a business contract or relationship. 1. What’s your Goal? When negotiating a business arrangement, consider your ultimate goal first. You may have several. Write them down and prioritize their importance. Before having discussions with the other party, distinguish between your wants and actual needs. Get clarity on the necessary components of your business deal, i.e. your true non-negotiables vs. what you can actually modify to complete a transaction. 2. Consider Alternatives Perhaps pre-lockdown you would have been able to…

Legal protection is more important than ever in times of uncertainty or duress. So let’s discuss how this national pause in our typical way of life is affecting business legally. This may include unexpected cancellations or contract termination. Here are a few things to consider as you pivot or shift your business to adapt to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic: Contract Terminations If you have to terminate an agreement with a client, associate or another business, look at your agreement to see how this is done. There should be a clearly defined termination or cancellation provision that details how to give notice to the other party. It’s usually written notice and hopefully your agreement considers email sufficient (my templates do). Some may require days’ notice, others may requires weeks’ notice but considering the circumstances if the notice requirement is unfeasible, work with the other party to conclude activities as…

If you have a business, you likely have a website. And if you have a website, you must have website terms. Website terms consist of the Terms of Use, aka terms and conditions, and a Privacy Policy, preferably GDPR specific. In today’s data driven world, privacy is everything. No one wants their personal information mishandled or sold without permission. Let’s dive into the important aspects of website terms and what you must know to protect your customers’ privacy. Terms of Use When you think of the Terms of Use, consider it a manual for the dos and don’ts on your website. For example, it may state that visitors to your website may sign up for an account and post reviews, but visitors may not copy your content or post inappropriate comments. It also contains some legal terms that protect your business. Just like a contract between two parties limits liability,…

A well drafted contract covers all bases. Business attorneys receive calls requesting “iron clad agreements” or “rock solid contracts” regularly. These descriptions always humor me because ultimately we’re talking words on paper not impenetrable mountains. But, I get it that clients want the strongest protection possible. So what does that look like? For the average small business, you want the following 5 contract must haves: 1. Detailed Services This section has many names: scope, services or duties. It’s usually the first clause in the agreement and rightfully so. A contract represents a legal exchange of products or services for money. We want to describe that exchange as accurately as possible. What type of service are you providing? What is included / excluded? Will it be delivered all at once or in stages? You want to be as specific as possible so there is no confusion between you and your client…

Many of us make personal resolutions at the start of a new year. But what about resolutions for your business? And specifically, those legal to-do’s that you’ve been putting off? The New Year is the perfect time to get your business matters in order. It has to be done anyway. So get those tasks completed now when you’re refreshed and ready to start the year off big! Here are some common tasks on a business owner’s to do list: Create an LLC If you have not created a business entity and you’re operating as a sole proprietor, now is a great time to consider adding more protection to your business. LLCs offer limited liability protection by separating you from your business. If your business is sued as a sole proprietor, your personal assets are vulnerable as there is no shield from liability. LLCs create a division between your personal and…

Business owners often underestimate the value of a well drafted NDA. Once they’ve experienced a theft of their information, or realized that they shared more than they should, they quickly regret the lack of security. There’s no need to wait for a breach of your information. Let’s talk about why your business needs an NDA today. What is an NDA? An NDA or non-disclosure agreement is a document you have someone sign stating that they will keep the confidential information you share with them private. It’s the silence keeper of your business. It’s the guard at the front gate. You’ll use this gem to protect your ideas and prevent potential competitors from stealing your concepts and impeding your progress. When to Use One As a business owner you will work with contractors, potential business partners, buyers, employees and others who have access to your sensitive business information. Your NDA may…

Does your online business need an LLC? At some point most business owners contemplate when to form a business entity. It’s usually not a question of whether to form one, instead they consider what type of entity to form. But for online entrepreneurs there’s often hesitation when it comes to formalizing the business side of their operations. Questions such as, do I need an LLC for my online store, or does my blog or consulting business need an LLC, come up frequently. Let’s look at some reasons in favor of forming an LLC. Liability Online businesses whether seasoned or just starting out are susceptible to claims just like brick and mortar businesses. They may be of a different sort (ex. copyright infringement vs a slip and fall) but the need to respond to a court when there is a claim is the same. What does an LLC do? It limits…

Part of being a business owner is signing agreements to manage relationships with business associates, contractors, vendors and employees. Life is hectic as an entrepreneur so it’s tempting to quickly sign your name when given one contract after another. But making a small tweak to your signature can help you sign a contract for your company the right way. Who Should Sign: If you haven’t formed an entity such as an LLC or corporation, then signing is a breeze. As a sole proprietor, you and your business are one and the same. Your motto is me, myself and I, so you can simply sign your own name on the dotted line and you’re done. If you’ve formed an LLC, you have formed a separate entity. You likely formed it to create a legal separation between yourself and the LLC. To keep things separate, sign your business agreements to show that…

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