5 reasons why sound business legals are a must from the very start

- March 7, 2022 3 MIN READ

Too many business owners learn too late that a little time and investment in their legals would have saved them a LOT of heartache and a LOT of money, writes Shalini Nandan-Singh, founder of Love Your Legals.

Legals are like insurance for your business – you don’t need it until you do. But oh, aren’t you glad you have it then!

But unlike insurance, which helps you recover from damage, your legals can prevent that damage from ever happening in the first place. It’s so much better to not get in trouble, than have to find a way out of it.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Business coaches having to refund clients or being taken to court because they have no Client Contract or Service Agreement in place to manage client expectations. They expect the client to magically know what is included in their arrangement, and have no leg to stand on when a client is disappointed.
  • Course creators of high-end online courses also face disputes about client assumptions about course content, delivery and promised outcomes.

5 reasons why business legals are a MUST – not just a ‘should’

Legal contract or form of agreement

Having to refund clients or go through litigation because you don’t have a contract in place that clearly manages expectations and refund requests can be expensive.

Also consider the damage to your brand reputation. Business legals are often overlooked, but not having legals can put you in a world of pain.

1. Establish and maintain your client’s trust

Remember why you are in business – to solve problems for your clients. How do you do that? Through the incredible relationships you develop.

Implementing legal agreements in your business is also about developing the relationship you ideally want to have with your clients. Legal agreements reflect your values and work processes, educate your client, and communicate clearly what will be fair to both of you in your business relationship.

Clear legals manage everyone’s expectations so that misunderstandings are avoided.

2. Spend a little money now to avoid paying a lot later

Small businesses typically have limited resources. It’s tempting to not want to spend money on anything that isn’t ‘broken’.

However, in the legal environment, waiting until something is broken can have very big consequences. Even if you are right, ending up in court is a situation to be avoided. Spend a little money now to prevent a situation costing more than you can afford later.

3. Your legals are a platform for negotiation

Having your own contract means that your terms provide a baseline. The goal of your contracts with partners, suppliers and customers is to make sure there are no misunderstandings, and no one acts to the other’s disadvantage. Legals give you a framework for negotiation and compromise if things do go pear-shaped.

If you don’t have legals in place, then you have no starting point to negotiate from. Negotiation is vital to your business success, and your contracts support your ability to negotiate effectively.

The business environment is dynamic, so be sure to periodically check that your contracts still serve you well.

4. Protect your business

Often, complying with simple legal requirements can protect your business. Think about things like copyright, non-disclosure agreements, terms and conditions, and refund policies as a few examples.

If you run into a problem, no contract can save you if you don’t have a contract to begin with.

5. Peace of mind

As a small business owner you already have plenty to worry about it! Take care of your business legals and you will have a lot less to worry about, as you know you are protecting your business from many circumstances beyond your control.

Establishing your legals at startup is ideal, but if your business is already established then get your legals in order before you find out how important they are the hard way.

When you have legals in place, a periodic check will ensure they are still best serving you. Retain your peace of mind by keeping your legals up to date as your business and the business environment evolves.

Don’t wait until something happens that makes you say, ‘I should have attended to my legals’. Talk to a legal professional who specialises in small business.

Act now and enjoy the peace of mind that only wise legal protection can bring.

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Now read this:

Understanding legal risk: what every business needs to know