You don't need a law degree to navigate the fine print of most contracts however, you can certainly get yourself into hot water if you don't treat contracts with care! Whether you are entering a contractual obligation for things like; rent, building leases and vehicle purchases or you are doing what many brave business owners before you have done: signed a Merchant Services Contract (Careful!!!)- there are a few action steps that you can take to Remove the Conflict & Confusion from Contracts.
READ THE CONTRACT - it may seem like a 'no brainer' however many of us would be embarrased to share how many times we have scribbled our name at the bottom of the page without actually taking the time to really read what we have just agreed to. When you read the terms of the agreements that you sign, it gives you one last opportunity to reconsider your choice. When you read the terms of the agreements that you sign, you are taking personal responsibility (although your signature will obligate you anyway- if you don't) for your actions. When you read the terms of the agreements that you sign, you are lesss likely to be surprised by the details.
TRUST BUT VERIFY - sometimes those sales people are so cute & convincing that we seem to melt in their presence but wait!! No matter what a silver tongued sales representative might say to you, the truth is that the actual terms of the agreement you are about to sign usually have a line like this (verbal agreements do not amend the printed contract) tucked neatly within the smallest legally acceptable text of the contract. We all LOVE to believe but when it comes to contracts- TRUST but verify!
TAKE YOUR TIME - haste makes waste and in the case of contracts it can cause LOTS of lost money and frustration as well. If a deal is good today, it will be good tomorrow; after you have had time to READ THE CONTRACT and give yourself a few moments to carefully consider the terms. When you slow things down a bit, you have a better chance of making a more intelligent and informed decision.
DO UNTO OTHERS - There are few things more frustrating then finding out that you entered into an agreement that you no longer wish to be in. When it comes to exiting agreements or terminating partnerships just remember the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others. Own your original decision and adhere to the terms of your agreement even when it is time to close the door. Too many otherwise decent relationships have been ruined by blame shifting and failure to remember that we are personally responsible for the contracts we sign and there are real live people on both sides.
When we take the time to READ our contracts, TRUST BUT VERIFY the terms, TAKE OUR TIME when entering into agreements and DO UNTO OTHERS as we would have done to us, a good percentage of the contract conflicts we hear about every day would simply vanish!