“Can I ask for this?” “Can I put this requirement in even if it’s not usual in my industry?”  

While working with clients to help put contracts in place for really important relationships in their business, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard those questions and my answer is always the same- “It’s your business, ask for what you want.” 

The beautiful thing about contracts is, with very few exceptions, you can make them anything you want. Contracts tell the story of the relationship- whether it be a relationship with your client, your team member or maybe a supplier or distributor. You, as the business owner, are the story teller and you decide what story you want to tell. 

Maybe, like Beyonce, you want to own intellectual property rights which are usually reserved to the creator. She famously negotiated exclusive video rights to her 2018 Coachella performance while taking a lower performance fee. Her decision to ask for what she wanted without worrying about what other performers did netted her a reported $60 million-dollar deal with Netflix. 

You may not be inking multi-million-dollar deals, yet, but you can learn from Queen B (can’t we all?) and practice asking for what you want in your business. 

So, it may be the industry standard to not take payments up front but maybe you want to take a deposit so you can engage a contractor to provide a faster and better service or so you can order materials that will give your client a better result. Don’t be afraid to include that requirement in your contract. Want to require clients to sign up for a longer period than is common because you know it takes 6 months for them to see great results? Go ahead and require that minimum commitment. 

While it can be helpful to know what common practices are in your field, no single business is the same and your one-of-a kind business deserves contracts which are custom tailored to fit its unique features. Good contracts that reflect your unique business needs allow you to run your business on your terms and help keep you out of court. 

If you’re serious about your business, generic one-size-fits-all templates from the internet aren’t going to cut it. 

Ask for what you want.  

P.S. If you’ve already got customized contracts for your business, but know your friends are out here doing copy + paste from all over the internet, be a good friend and share this with them.
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