South African small business owners can definitely be challenged in getting all of your legal ducks in a row. More often than not getting the work done, delivering the service or making the product takes precedence over the “business admin”.
Well in this post we are going to list the 5 reasons why small business owners should prioritize legal stuff:
1. IT SETS THE TONE
Some Clients absolutely love to take advantage of you, especially if instructions and timelines are not written down… or those payment dates and deposit dates seem a bit more negotiable. However, if you start off your business relationship with your client by sending them your terms and conditions it also sets the tone of how you are going to do business with them, giving you that edge. It also shows your client that there are certain terms that are not negotiable.
2. IT CREATES SECURITY
As weird as this may sound…people feel more secure when they know that everything they have agreed to, including the cost, timeline, product, warranty etc. is all in writing and agreed to by all parties. People are more likely to want work with you again in future if they feel secure.
3. IT LOOKS PROFESSIONAL
You want to look like you have a legitimate business and that you are not a fly by night. People invest in the real thing and having a contract only adds to what you are offering your client – a complete service from start to finish.
4. IT GIVES YOU LEGAL PROTECTION
Sure part of having a business is to have fun but at the same time you also need to protect your interests. This includes securing payment, protecting your intellectual property and gives the protection you need to take matters further if a client doesn’t perform or doesn’t meet his obligations.
5. IT SAVES TIME
The odd thing about contracts is that it actually saves time. The reason is quite simple: you have put a lot of thought into what is acceptable to you and what is not, and now you have put it in writing to your client. If there are queries or concerns you just refer them to the contract and that is the end of it. No more endless negotiations or “but you said” back and forth conversations. You can actually take more time to deal with your business product than admin. You never completely rid yourself of queries and admin but you can definitely reduce it along with the emotions that go with each and every query.
The long and the short of the boring business legal stuff is that you need it! No way around it and the sooner you make peace with the fact that you are going to have to sort out your own business’ legal side, the sooner you will see results in the way you do business and have the security and peace of mind that a contract brings to the table when doing business. Also spend less time dealing with queries that are in the contract.
Have a look at my other posts where I deal with the problems small business owners face when it comes to deposits.