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Member guest blog: Contracts are just a conversation

This week’s blog post is by Co-Woman member and founder of Looking Glass Solutions, Alice Dewar-Mills, who is talking about the c word . .

Hiya! Let's talk about something that tends to make people shudder when we mention it in conversation - the infamous "C" word. No, not that one! We're all about keeping it professional here. We're talking about Contracts - a term that can make you break into a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Contracts are a big part of what we do at Looking Glass Solutions and so we've had plenty of discussions about them. We get it, the idea of contract negotiations can sound intimidating, like stepping into the unknown. But guess what? It's just a conversation - a chance to make sure everyone's on the same page and is aligned before anything starts. It’s really important to remember that, if you can’t talk about how to make things work before you start and you’re all friends, it’s only going to be more difficult if something goes wrong.

Here's a little nudge to remind you that it's totally OK to speak up and make the contract work for you:

1. “Can we tweak this a bit?” – Maybe suggest adding in a clause about charging interest on late payments because, hey, we've all been there with clients dragging their feet on payments. Remember it’s OK to add a human element to the conversation. It’s OK to say that I need to be paid within 14 days because I’m a small business and need the cash flow.

2. “I’m not quite following. Can you explain this part?” – Don't worry if you're feeling a bit lost. Even the pros sometimes need a bit of clarification. It's probably just some jumbled-up jargon that needs unscrambling.

3. “This doesn’t quite fit what we’re doing. Can we remove it” – Your contract, your rules! If something feels out of place or unnecessary, don't hesitate to ask for it to be taken out

Fear not, my friend! We're here to lend a helping hand. We firmly believe that contracts should be more like friendly chats, not scary legal documents. With years of experience negotiating contracts of all shapes and sizes, we've got the scoop on what makes negotiations tick.

Our approach is all about making contracts work for everyone involved. We go beyond the legal nitty-gritty to understand how the contract will affect you in the real world of business. Our aim is to give you a crystal-clear contract that spells out expectations, milestones, and what's expected from all parties. This way, we can ensure that the terms make sense, everyone's on the same page and set you up for success, which leads to smoother sailing and happier outcomes.

However, while we’re set up to support growing SMEs, we know that not everyone’s business is at the stage that they need (or can afford) a firm like us. So we’re kicking off some cohort contracts training in the next few months which is aimed at freelancers and micro businesses to help empower you to have those conversations and ask for what you need.

This is our chance to support our community and provide a safe space to talk about all the business things that you don’t really want to, but you know you should! We’re running hourly sessions, once a week for a month for smallish groups where someone from Looking Glass Solutions will walk through the ins and outs of the contracting topic and then everybody can discuss how it impacts their particular business and potential solutions. Not only is there a lot of solidarity that comes with sharing experiences and lessons learnt, but real life discussions help make something as dull as contracts become a little more interesting and therefore useful!

Sign up to our mailing list on our website to learn more or check us out on socials @LookingGlassSolutionsUK for more hints and advice.

Looking Glass Solutions, we’re here to provide the commercial support and guidance that you need to move your business forward and reduce those “keep you awake in the middle of the night” moments.

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