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WHAT'S THE TEA, contracts?

Read on to find out the importance of using contracts in your 
business, why they are essential to protect your small business,
and what contracts you need as a small business owner.

This post is in affiliation with Manton Consultancy.

Starting your own business is an exciting time! You’re full to the brim with creative ideas, establishing your brand voice, creating content, setting up a website… it can be easy to forget what legal things you need to get in place before starting up.

Other than filing as a sole trader or limited company with HMRC, there is another key details that new small business owners needs to nail down: contracts.

Why do I need contracts as a new small business owner?

You may think because you haven’t made any sales yet that you don’t need to think about contracts. Think again! No matter how big or small or how long you’ve been going, all businesses deserve to be legally protected in case things go wonky.

Even when you’re working with people you know and trust, having the right contracts in place ensures that expectations are managed, boundaries are set, and – most importantly – helps you avoid any misunderstandings or sticky situations that could land you in legal trouble.

Here are 3 basic templates you need to protect yourself as a small business owner:

Client Contract (or Service Agreement)

If you are someone providing a service to another business or individual, you will need a solid client contract in place. These have lots of different names: Service Agreement, Independent Contractor Agreement, Consulting Agreement, Freelance Services Contract… but no matter the name, it serves a key purpose: to protect you and your business.

In this type of contract, you outline all of your terms (and set boundaries) for the working relationship between you and the client. A service agreement is a place where you outline both party’s responsibilities and expectations, payment terms, contract length, and any extra details that may be relevant to your business.

It’s important that you get a legit contract from a legal professional or website, as you don’t want to make this up as you go along. A client contract should be as detailed as possible so that you have all of your bases covered, such as what to do if a client doesn’t pay (or pays late) and what information each party is entitled to during (and after) your contracted period.

Obviously, we don’t want anything wrong going on during your working relationship with a client, but a good client contract ensures that you are protected in case things do go sideways.

Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy

Whether you’re a service-based or product-based business, if you have a website, a Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy are must-have contracts!

This is not something to skip over – you are legally required to have a Privacy Policy on your website.

Even if your website visitors and potential customers are not filling out forms on your website, UK GDPR states that all organisations must process personal data lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner. 

Some websites combine their Privacy and Cookie Policies, but you’re better off getting both so that everything is fully transparent and laid out on the table, especially if you have website visitors from the EU.

Non-discloure Agreement

As a small business owner, you’re probably going to be working on a lot of top-secret projects before unveiling them to the world. A non-disclosure agreement (or NDA for short) is designed to protect any important or confidential information being shared with any third parties without explicit consent. This can range from anything: passwords, client lists, business plans, you name it.

Whether you’re hiring help within your business or working on exciting things with your clients, an NDA will help you define what information stays confidential, limits how it can be used (and for how long), and details what happens if the rules are broken (such as monetary compensation).

If you’re now thinking, okay WTF do I do next? Don’t worry, I gotchu!

Another important thing about contracts is that you should NOT write them up yourself. You should take the time to invest in proper, lawyer-drafted contracts to ensure every clause is added to maximum protection. Luckily, I have just the resource for you:

Manton Consultancy has a Template Shop full of customisable legal contracts for new small business owners to get started. All of the contracts have been drafted by UK-qualified lawyers who centre the needs of small business owners, so that you can be assured that your contracts are fit for purpose.

The best part? You can get 10% off ANY templates you purchase with the code AFF10. Go get it, small biz babe!

I'm Jess Bruno

Social
media
strategist
coach
podcaster
and
content
therapist

I’m on a mission to shake up the content marketing game for small business owners. When you’re rolling with me as your social media strategist – you can say goodbye to stress and hello to fun, easy, and effective content creation that actually brings in sales!