Signing NDAs

July 15, 2015

in Legal

Eight years ago, as a new inexperienced entrepreneur, I was excited when a BigCo sent us our first NDA to sign. Another company actually thought we were important enough to get their legal team involved. Haha!

I was also nervous. What if they were trying to pull one over on us?! I’d better get our expensive lawyers to read it over carefully, right?

So I spent money on lawyers. They read it. They marked it up in red highlights. We spent time going back and forth with the other party. We finally signed it two weeks later.

It took time and money. And in the end, we probably didn’t even do anything meaningful with that other company. Most partnerships have no teeth anyway.

So my mode of operation now is different. My team and I read the NDAs ourselves. In general, if the terms are all mutual and not out of the ordinary, we do not need an expensive lawyer to read over them. We sign them as-is and move on. There are a few exceptions. Especially if there are terms that are not mutual.

This saves us time, money, and headache. It gets the legal done and out of the way and allows the focus to be more on actually doing productive business together.

What are your thoughts on signing NDAs?


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One of the toughest things to do is to fire a client. Sometimes a particular client may pay their bills, but they may cause all sorts of havoc for your startup. We have been unsuccessful at purposefully firing clients. I am not sure if our decision-making has been right or wrong, but these are some of the issues that have arisen with clients we have contemplated firing:

  • They are mean. They treat our people with disrespect.
  • The work is overly boring, uninteresting, and not exciting for our people. The work is not enriching.
  • They are overly cheap.
  • They are dishonest, not true to their word, or bad at communication.

We have run into all of those types of clients. A few times we have found clients that exhibit most of the above factors.

Yet it is hard to fire clients. It is sometimes easier to put up with the headache and keep the revenue. I don’t know what the right answer is for startups.

Where do you draw the line on firing clients?


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