What kind of person are you? Risk aware or risk averse?
Some small business owners couldn’t give a monkeys about the legal end of things, happily sailing along with the minimum in place, prepared to deal with the fallout if things go wrong. Others tie themselves in knots with endless legal gobbledegook, microscopic-print contracts, terrifying terms and conditions so long they stretch to the moon and back. So what’s the best way forward?
Change some things about yourself. But if you naturally can’t be bothered to worry about things until they happen – it’s pretty difficult to force yourself to take a sensible attitude and put the basics in place. And if you’re a dyed in the wool control monster, it’s tough to take a step back and release yourself from the tyranny of over-doing the legal side of things.
Common sense is your best guide. If you don’t have any T&C, they’re a legal requirement so get your arse in gear. If you don’t have a contract and really can’t be bothered with it, it isn’t a problem. As long as you’re aware of the potential risks and willing to take them. If, on the other hand, your clients have to fight their way heroically through masses of agreement-related gumph before you’ll think about starting work for them, you might want to chill a bit, trust people more and let them buy from you without such a struggle!
Don’t fall into the trap of writing contracts, agreements and T&C in legal jargon. Most of the templates you get online are written in legalese. First, there’s no excuse for using jargon. Second, if people can’t understand your legal stuff they also can’t be held responsible for not complying. So get someone to rewrite them in plain English.