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7 Essential Contracts for New Businesses in 2024

7 Essential Contracts for New Businesses in 2024

In today’s TikTok world, everyone wants to be THAT GIRL. 💅🏼

If you’re unfamiliar with what that means (don’t worry, I’m trying to keep up with all the trends, too), essentially “that girl” is the person who wakes up early, journals, has a morning routine in check, drinks green juice, wears luxurious athleisure, and basically is on a constant mission to improve her life.

With this in mind, I thought it was time to let you in on what “that girl” looks like in the business world. And don’t worry… my version has nothing to do with the type of clothes you wear or what time you wake up in the mornings.

After all, I’m a mom to 4, so I’m lucky to wash my hair at least once a week and I’m not above sneaking in some extra snoozes when I can.

Instead, “that girl” in the business world is the one who attracts her ideal audience, has her offers down to a science, loves to genuinely connect with her audience on social media, has a bomb newsletter, AND does it all legally.

Yep, “that girl” doesn’t avoid the legal to-do’s in her business. 👏🏼

Instead, she embraces them, knows they’re a part of the process, and makes sure that her business is ALWAYS in top notch legal shape.

HOW does she do it all though? Well, she doesn’t just guess on what needs to be done – she seeks help for all of the things I mentioned above.

And for the legal stuff? Her go-to is The Boutique Lawyer. 😏

Since you’re reading this, I guess it’s safe to assume that YOU are that girl… or at least you want to be!

So in that case, let’s get into the BEST new year’s resolution you could ever do for your business: getting your legal stuff locked down. 🔒

Starting with the 7 essential contracts that EVERY new (or seasoned) business needs in place. ⬇️

7 Legal Agreements That Every Business Needs In Place

1. Privacy Policy

If you were to choose only one legal agreement off this list (although, I HIGHLY advise you not doing that – they’re all easy to do), it would be a privacy policy.

This agreement is the thing that tells your customers how you plan to use the information you gather when they use your site, such as browser cookies or email subscriptions.

This one is huge, not only because it’s legally required, but mainly because the penalties that you can get hit with are massive…

We’re talking up to $7,500 per instance per visitor! 🤯

(You can read more on that risk here.)

Essentially, if you want to be able to KEEP the money that you make in your business, make sure this policy is implemented and that it’s clearly displayed on your website – most of the time you’ll link this in your footer.

2. Website Terms of Use

One of the cool parts about being a business owner is that YOU get to call the shots and set most of the rules.

And your Website Terms of Use is one of the ways that you get to do that!

Essentially, it’s the digital boundaries for your website that states how people can use your site and your course, more specifically.

In your Terms of Use, you can set age requirements, specify that they can’t take your graphics and photos, copy your blog, backlink to your site, etc.

When you have this agreement in place, if anyone crosses those boundaries, you can actually do something about it when necessary.

3. General Disclaimer

Disclaimers are another HUGE piece that can protect you as a business owner and it works by letting users know the limitations and/or risks associated with using your content.

Overall, these statements are intended to protect YOU as the business owner and seller from legal claims and to ensure that users are aware of your website’s limitations and potential risks!

Depending on your industry, there are various types of disclaimers that you may need. For example, on my website I have a disclaimer stating that The Boutique Lawyer is not a law firm and this isn’t legal advice. This disclaimer statement would protect me if anyone ever claimed that I acted as a lawyer on their behalf!

Disclaimers are huge for all business owners, but especially if you fall into an industry where people expect certain results, such as health and wellness, financial, coaching etc.

To help you know what type of disclaimer to use for your specific business, CLICK HERE to browse the options – when in doubt, a General Disclaimer will typically suffice.

4. Client Services Agreement

Depending on the type of work that you’re conducting, your client services agreement will look different and include various things, but generally speaking, a client services agreement works to help protect your work, define your roles and responsibilities, and ensure a positive relationship with your clients.

So, whether you’re a social media manager, copywriter, web designer, or any other kind of service provider, having a client services agreement in place can be the thing that sets the tone of your working relationship with clients and start on a solid ground with mutual understandings!

Click here to browse the various agreement options and when in doubt, opt for this one!

5. Terms of Purchase

When it comes to selling ANYTHING online, you want to make sure that your clients and customers are fully aware of your expectations as the seller and their responsibilities as the buyer.

Two of the most important things that your terms of purchase address are refunds and chargebacks.

Both of these things can lead to huge legal headaches if they’re not addressed right away, which is why no matter what you’re selling online, you want to have a Terms of Purchase in place.

Legal pro tip: set this up as a clickwrap checkbox at checkout so your clients are actively agreeing to it, making it more enforceable later. 💪 (The other option is a browsewrap – here’s the difference!)

6. Non-disclosure Agreement

If you’re hiring employees or outsourcing with service providers for various business needs, one of the top things that people worry about is confidentiality!

And as a business owner myself, I totally get this. Some information is meant to be kept under lock and key because after all – you’re putting a lot of work into your business and you don’t want all of your secrets and strategies spilled to just anyone.

So, how can you ensure that the people you work with keep their lips sealed? 🤐 By implementing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) of course!

This simple agreement helps ensure your confidential information stays confidential and should be used with anyone who will be accessing potentially sensitive or confidential information with others and you want to legally ensure it’s fully protected and kept private.

Not sure when to implement an NDA? A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you’re sharing information with someone and you don’t want it to “leave the room,” you should have that person sign an NDA!

7. Independent Contractor Agreement

When working as an independent contractor, it’s important that before you do ANY work for clients to have a signed and legally-binding agreement in place.

This is one of the places that I see so many new business owners go wrong. And I get it – you’re excited to start serving clients and you aren’t really sure what legally needs to happen before doing so...

So, you start working with no contract in place and months down the road you’re met with all of the things that no business owner wants to experience.

Scope creep. Failed payments. Lack of communication. Cancellations without notice. The list goes on.

But you know what can save you from all of those things? Having an independent contractor agreement in place from the get go!

Click here for a list of the top 5 things I encourage all service providers to include in their contracts.

⭐️ Oh, and if you’re a business owner who plans to outsource using independent contractors, click here for the easy to use contract template made just for you!

Meet Your Legal Business Bestie

So, whaddya say? Are you ready to commit to being “that girl” in the business world in 2024?

Whether you’re a brand new business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to level up your business game in the new year, I’m here to help you make that happen.

And if we haven’t officially met, I’m Amber 👋

Amber Gilormo The Boutique Lawyer

Trademark lawyer, serial entrepreneur extraordinaire, and millennial mom of 4 who’s fueled by decaf cinnamon oat milk espressos, but you’re not here for my coffee order.

You’re here to level up the legal side of your business with practical strategies that are easy to implement and that’s EXACTLY what I aim to help you do.

Here’s a few ways I can help:

After you’ve grabbed what you need, come introduce yourself on the app that I hang out on most!