Sample Business Agreements

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Whatever your political or social orientation, it generally pays to be conservative when drawing up business agreements. That is, Benjamin Franklin's phrase about prevention being nine-tenths of a cure applies very well indeed. The time you take in reading--carefully--samples of similar agreements to the one you're drawing up, the better off you'll be in the long run.

Business Agreements: One Step at a Time

Business agreements, after all, are legal documents. You might be thinking of something as simple as a promissory note or something as complex as a company merger. A list of agreement types related to technology will include confidentiality agreements, reciprocal nondisclosures, software development, and prepackaged licenses. Among those germane to human resources and employment are conflict of interest guidelines, employment applications, offer or rejection of employment, and a host of others.

The fact is, one size does not fit all unless you're interested in hiring an attorney. Marketing and sales agreements, for example, are equally critical to protecting your assets and establishing a network of complementary and profitable business relationships. If you think about the contents of nonexclusive distributorships, joint marketing arrangements, and cooperative promotional agreements, this should become clear.

Your best resource 10 years ago would have been the public library or business section of a library. Today, clearly, it's more efficient to find an online resource for legal and business forms and documents. The trick, however, is not to look for free offers and downloads. Remember the admonition about being conservative in doing business to protect your assets and organization.

Your first step is to be as familiar with the law as you can. There are a number of reliable sources designed to ground the layman in the basics. After that, you want to read as many sample agreements of the type you're interested in drawing up as possible. Finally, you'll find a vendor with seasoned experts from CPAs to CEOs to LLDs among staff or on a board of directors, download a sample agreement, and know enough to tailor it to your needs. A quality site will also have the resources you need to educate yourself on the subject. Ideally, you'd then have an attorney review the agreement for flaws.


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