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We're guessing you didn't go into business to get buried in paperwork. You may be thinking that a bunch of legalese will only bog your startup down, but the right set of contracts will serve to clarify things down the road. And putting the work in early will only mean a clearer path to success ahead.
Clear and concise contracts can be the difference between smooth sailing and a storm of litigation, so here are five tips regarding startup contracts, from our archives:
Thought prenups were just for celebrity marriages? Well, there's no guarantee that your startup will make it, or that it will always continue in the same form or with the same staff or directors. So when the breakups and shakeups hit your startup, will you be prepared?
The first step to knowing what you need in a contract is knowing which contracts you need. Obviously you want sales and service contracts in writing, but you may also need employment contracts and partner agreements, not to mention your lease.
If you're divvying up and doling out ownership via shares in the company, you may want restrictions and requirements on when those stock options will vest, as in when they'll be available for sale. You don't want employees or investors coming in late and cashing out early.
Startups put a lot of faith in their early employees and have a lot riding on their success, and, in the case of tech startups, their discretion. Make sure you hash out all of the possible employment issues with a well-drafted contract from day one.
With any of the above contracts, you may be tempted to just pull a form from the internet. Or re-use an old contract and just switch out the names. Beware -- you get what you pay for, and boilerplate language in a contract can get you into serious legal trouble.
You want to focus on the core of your startup's business, so why not let the professionals handle the fine print? Contact an experienced contracts attorney today.