Contracts are the agreements that form the backbone of business. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is or what industry you’re in. Everybody does it . . . enter into contracts that is. Of course some folks do a better job of it than others.
Be sure to follow these seven tips if you’re interested in creating a truly awful contractual relationship.
1. Don’t worry about the details. Just smile, nod and agree to anything. Some people believe it doesn’t matter what you agree to because the deal will change as circumstances change. It’s all a fluid, a nonstop negotiation. Some might criticize you for making excuses and being undependable, but you prefer to think of it as being flexible and operating at 10,000 feet.
2. Just sign the contract, don’t read it. It saves time and you won’t get a headache from reading all that blurry small print and legalese which you don’t understand anyway. They can’t really expect you to understand all that mumbo jumbo or enforce that stuff, can they? Besides, you like surprises. Dealing with the unexpected and running from one crisis to the next will make your business day go faster and make it infinitely more interesting. It also lets you utilize your superior management skills and then brag about it at the nineteenth hole. It doesn’t get any better than that.
3. Generalize product descriptions. Make sure it’s general enough to let your customer think they’re getting value for their money, but vague enough to give your lawyer enough ammunition to defend you vigorously if the customers don’t like what you deliver and keep those ungrateful customers tied up in litigation for years.
4. Generalize warranties. See tip number 3 above.
5. Don’t indemnify for anything. Pass the buck. Don’t indemnify your customers for your mistakes. If, for example you’re into software design and you sell a product that infringes a teensy-weensy bit on someone else’s program, let that guy sue your customer. Your customers will be sure to tell all their business friends. It will generate a lot of buzz without you spending a cent. You can’t buy that kind of word of mouth.
6. Ignore confidentiality and intellectual property rights. Don’t worry about trade secrets, patent rights, copyrights, or trademarks. Maintaining confidentiality and protecting intellectual property rights is so last century. Finding counterfeit knock offs of your product at flea markets and on the Internet means you’ve arrived.
7. Don’t allow early termination. Stay together for the kids no matter how rough it gets. Hang in there on principle.
Following these seven simple steps ensures a bumpy path and frequent trips to the lawyer’s office. But then again, some might say, that’s what lawyers are for.
“It’s a cost of doing business. “