We’ve already discussed how putting an agreement in writing can help you avoid future disputes, but what are examples of some of the types of contracts that should always be in writing?
Owner’s Agreements – Whether you are a partnership, corporation, or LLC, it is extremely important to have the owners’ agreements in writing. Depending on your business type, you may have a shareholder agreement, LLC agreement, or maybe even a joint venture agreement. Disagreements in small businesses are generally the beginning of the end, so you should definitely have terms such as buy-sell, decision-making, deadlock, and other dispute resolution and avoidance measures in writing.
All Major Relationships – Relationships with key suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and your employees should all be in writing. Consider what would happen to your business if one of those relationships failed.
Intellectual Property Agreements – Your IP, such as your trade name, may be your bread and butter, and should be one of your most protected assets. Agreements with independent contractors, employees, and anyone else who may have access to your confidential and proprietary information should sign a written agreement protecting your company’s rights.
Standard Terms and Conditions of Sales – When dealing with large or reoccurring transaction, it’s important to make sure that your standard terms and conditions are in writing, and include them in estimates, purchase orders, supply agreements, and so on.
Website Terms – Even though most people don’t take the time to read these, they are still important. They form the relationship with each visitor to your website. Make sure you are aware of current privacy requirements regarding the information you collect and how you plan to use it. The FTC website is a great resource.