Yesterday, I covered relationships in business deals. Today, I want to cover the second concept regarding contracts in my book, Advocating for Yourself. Relax.

I say relax, because most of the everyday contracts we deal with are for a subscription, product, or service. Whether you are an author, or artist contracting for the publication of your work, or simply a business person, or an individual procuring a product, or service, the deal couldn’t exist without both parties, meaning you’re equally important.

Contracts should not be intimidating. They are simply to put context around a business relationship. There are protections in the law for consumers and for the business relationship in the absence of a written agreement. However, it’s best to have a contract in place to show the intent of the parties and to describe that relationship.

If you are presented with a contract template, understand that it is exactly that. A template is a starting point for the deal and should contain the terms pertinent to most deals. However, most providers of products and services realize that the customer may want to change some of the terms. Some businesses use contract template drafted by their attorney, or they may have purchased it from the internet. These really should be customized, but unless the company has in-house counsel, they may not wish to incur additional legal fees for a more customized suite of templates to fit each type of business deal. That’s where you come in. These standard terms may need clarification to fit the actual business deal you desire to do with this company. Ask the company for an editable, Microsoft Word version of the contract. Sometimes you will be ignored, and sometimes you’ll receive a “no” response. No worries. Again, relax. The worst that can happen is they say no. If they say no, ask for the reason. It may be as simple as the company not being resourced to negotiate terms and they don’t want to incur legal fees, so they say now out of that fear that they will need to involve an attorney. In my book, I cover examples and provide tips on how handle these situations.

 “The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts. And there was a considerable challenge to that here and understandably so.” -Howard Baker