Drafting and negotiating contracts can be a bit of a hassle, especially if your company is just starting out. You want to make sure that the wording comes out just so, that all of the terms are clear and unambiguous, and that the relationship will be mutually advantageous. Whether your company is a recent start-up, or you’ve been in business for a while, negotiating the contract is still a valuable skill that takes a lot of effort to manage. That’s why we have compiled this list of three things to remember when dealing with your contract lifecycle management.
Clarity is Key
Before you even begin to draft the contract, you need to be clear with yourself and with your team on what it is you hope to accomplish with this contract. What are your needs? What is the best avenue for fulfilling them? It is at this point that you may want to develop a business case and do some preliminary market research.
Since contract writing is seldom an individual venture, more often than not it requires multiple collaborators, your team will need to work together to clearly define what the contract is intended to do, who will be involved in the contract, how the terms will affect your business, and how it will affect the other party. Are Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) appropriate in this instance, or not? What sorts of risks are we running as a company, and how do the potential rewards counterbalance those risks? How likely is it that those risks will occur? These are questions that your team will need answers to.
Once everyone on your team has a good grasp of these concepts, you’ll want to craft the document with precise language that expresses these ideas thoroughly. Prices and payments for services rendered need to be easily identifiable in your document, and the terms of service need to be at the forefront of the other party’s mind as they review and sign. Deadlines should be precise and clear. Leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about the terms of the contract, and leave as few loopholes as you can.
Change Can Be Good
It is entirely possible that, as hard as you worked on your initial contract, some things will need to be clarified, reworded, or renegotiated. In fact, that’s an all too common scenario. Terms will need to be negotiated, rehashed, and rehashed again and again until both the purchaser and the provider are in a mutually beneficial agreement. Even after the contract is signed, there is still potential for needed change in the contract terms.
Don’t be afraid of these changes. Your contract management team, and therefore the contract itself, should be flexible and easily adaptable. You should be able to negotiate the terms of your contract without breaking down in tears. When you properly manage these changes, they can be a catalyst for good in your company.
Be sure to include in every contract and escape hatch, or a way of terminating the contract if expectations are not being met, and will not be met. There are going to be times as a business when you’ll need to cut your losses and get out. You will need to make sure that you can do what is best for your business in any situation.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycling and environmental responsibility are extremely important issues that are continuing to gain traction in many company cultures and have come to be expected by the public. Concord can help reduce paper consumption and environmental impact. But that’s not the only type of recycling Concord is designed to help with. What we are talking about is that moment when your contract ends. What are you supposed to do?
Well, the first thing to do is to confirm that the terms of the contract were actually met. Did you receive the services required by the contract? If you’re a small business, then this might be the shipment that came in or the payment that was made to your company. If you’re dealing with construction, or other large scale projects, then you’ll need to be sure that everything was built to specifications.
If the contract was terminated early, for any reason, then you are responsible for exacting the consequence for early termination, or accepting it if you were the party who pulled out early.
In the event that your contract has not been fulfilled, you should require that the provider of services complete the terms of the contract satisfactorily. If he will not comply, then you may need to take legal action to ensure that the terms are met (though, we obviously all hope that it doesn’t come to that).
Let’s say your contract terms were met adequately and punctually. What then? Well, that’s perfect! Now, you have a potential business partner to work with in the future. This is where the recycling comes into play.
Part of the lifecycle of your contract is reincarnation. You can bring that contract back again and again to serve your company, as long as you manage and apply it properly. The terms are satisfactory to all parties involved, so make sure that you sign those deals with people that you trust over and over again.
How Can Concord Help?
Contract Management can be a very complex and subtle process—drafting, negotiating, renegotiating, signing, adjusting, adjudicating, and resurrecting contracts. What Concord does is make your contract lifecycle management as simple and easy as possible.
When you’re drafting a contract, you can use our system to edit documents as a team to make every word count. You can set up notifications so you’ll know when anyone has edited the document, and when they eventually sign it. That way, online negotiations can be handled quickly and easily, which hastens the rate at which service can be rendered and saves you time and money with your contracts. You can even have unlimited free e-signatures in connection with every document.
What’s more, all of your contracts can be saved in a single, easily accessible location. You can see not only the contracts that you’ve stored with us, but also their summaries, so you don’t have to search for the things that you need. This makes it easy to identify terms, conditions, and deadlines, so you can stay on top of your work.
When the contract is fulfilled, you won’t have to redraft another contract ever. It will be right there for you to review later, or even turn into a new contract to keep the lifecycle continuing.
All of these services, e-signing, drafting, editing, track changes, and alerts, are provided to you for free with our system for as long as you want. If you’re looking to expand your business, however, then you won’t want to miss our Plus package. Rather than drafting contracts yourself, you will have access to our automated templates and advanced data export/imports. With Plus, you’ll also have access to our Application Programming Interface (API) to simplify the lifecycle management process.
We know how irksome managing your contracts can be, and that’s why we offer the services that we do. Sign up for Concord today to make your business life a little bit easier.