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Bemidji Area Chamber News

The mission of the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce:
To serve our members and advocate for our business community.
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Better Bureaucracy: A Business Owner’s Guide to Signing Contracts

Reading, understanding and signing business contracts is a crucial skill for any owner but it can quickly become a time drain. If you want to speed up the process, keep operations above board and secure good terms for your company, it’s important to develop a rudimentary understanding of how contracts work and leverage modern tools correctly.

 

An Overview

 

Whenever an official agreement or a new relationship is formed, a business contract gives both parties assurance that their needs will be met and that the process will be undertaken lawfully. There are no limits as to the form a business contract might take or what it might delineate - variables such as state, country, industry, and transaction type can all affect their form and shape.

 

Ultimately, we understand contracts as an important mediation tool for protecting both parties involved in a transaction. Within a contract, terms and conditions are explicitly stated so that both sides are aware and can express agreement over their responsibilities. They also keep both parties liable to the terms outlined within the contract, meaning no one can shirk from their responsibilities.

 

Types of Contract

 

There are a number of different types of business-related contracts including:

   

Each contract type is entirely different to the next and, if you are faced with any one of them, it’s important to first take the time to understand their structure and content. You should also be certain that, if you’re signing these digitally, the contract is compliant with eSignature laws.

 

Negotiating Contracts

 

Many small business owners forget that contracts are negotiable. This means that you can (and sometimes should) exercise your right to discuss the terms outlined within the document. Doing so can be a technique in itself and you should always be prepared to say no, back your arguments with data/research, and be willing to wait, sometimes these negotiations can take days or weeks to get right.

 

Once you’ve spent enough time negotiating contracts, you’ll begin to learn about the common habits throughout the process. For example, most concessions tend to be made towards the end of the deal being made. It’s important to discipline yourself to recognize when and how you’re most likely to give ground throughout a negotiation. Take the time to learn about the ways you might concede before you do so.

 

Technology

 

Once a deal is sealed, you’ll want to make use of the various available technologies to keep the process moving efficiently. If you want to get paid quickly and on time, an invoice generator is a great option and will allow you to choose from pre-made templates to create customized invoices that include text, photos, logos, and more. This should also allow you to download your invoice in any preferred format.

 

You may also find accounting software advantageous as it can allow you to more clearly view your business’ financial health whilst negotiating. The right accounting software for your SMB will allow you to manage various financial sections from a single platform, providing real-time insights into cash flow.

 

Contracts can become a time sink but understanding them is key for your business's long-term financial success. The more you can learn about this complex, multifaceted side of business, the more likely you will be to save time and secure advantageous positions for you and your company moving forward.

 

Looking for more great tips? Be sure to join the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce today and stop by Zenbusiness.com often for business-related how-tos, from how to form an S Corp in Minnesota to how to retain your employees.

 

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Contact Abby at abby@bemidji.org