Table of contents
How this e-book can help you save time, money, and grief
Signing a Business Contract? provides a quick checklist to help you conduct your own final ‘pre-flight’ inspection of your contract, along with true stories illustrating why you should do so.
You’ll see examples of contract language that could cause your business relationship to have ‘in-flight difficulties’ or even to crash and burn.
You’ll read heads-up alerts, in plain English with real-world examples, about crucial points such as:
1. Guard against personal liability. The book explains ways that a company contract could make you personally liable — with examples of real people who found themselves in that situation because they made simple, easily-avoidable mistakes.
2. Stay out of jail. The book tells how to avoid the fate of real-life business people imprisoned for unlawful but not-uncommon contracting practices.
3. Spot-check for contract provisions that could cause real problems for your business. A number of such provisions are discussed in the book, illustrated with true stories.
Most of the points covered in the book are well-known to lawyers and to experienced business people. Even so, it’s surprising how often they get overlooked, even by smart people with lots of experience, as demonstrated by some of the real-world examples in the e-book.
Highlights of the book
- Nah, don’t read the contract (not!)
- 10 dangerous clauses that can seriously hurt your business
- Unlawful contract practices that can land you in jail
- Watch out for contract language that can make you personally liable
- Make sure the other side has proper signature authority
- How to sign a contract for your company
Why I wrote this e-book
A few years ago, I was greatly impressed by a book called The Checklist Manifesto, by Dr. Atul Gawande. The book rose to #3 on the New York Times best-seller list. Dr. Gawande is a surgeon at a top-flight hospital in Boston. He’s also on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School. He was a Rhodes Scholar and received a Macarthur Foundation genius grant. According to the New York Times, President Obama cited one of Dr. Gawande’s articles on health care in The New Yorker during the debate about the health care bill.
The Checklist Manifesto wasn’t about long, detailed checklists (that likely won’t get followed). It emphasized using short, simple, last-minute checklists. Small but important things. The kind that pilots have used for decades, just before taking off on a flight. Stupid stuff: Do we really have enough fuel to get where we’re going?
So I tried to figure out: What checklist items would I most want a client to verify if they were signing a contract without consulting a lawyer? This e-book is a first pass at an answer. It’s essentially my personal best judgment about what contract signers most need to verify before they put ink on the signature line, with commentary and explanations.
I would love to get feedback from others, with an eye toward future revisions.