For organizations and individuals that sell their expertise and know-how, it is crucial to develop and secure their methods and processes for client engagements and carefully protect trade secrets and intellectual property. To my knowledge no one has yet to figure out how to collect time back from a client after non-payment. Having the right agreements in place to protect your well-designed services and delivery practices is often the difference between success and failure.
As the owner of a multimillion-dollar, technology consulting firm, I have experienced that the best defence against non payment and providing on-going work with the uncertainty of getting paid is granular attention to defining a detailed Service Agreement. Crucial coverage should include:
· Focused, project-oriented, Statements of Work,
· Detailed coverage for the ownership of developed intellectual property,
· A well-defined scope for the engagement and
· An understandable change order processes to prevent scope creep.
For most of my client engagements, I have adopted the consulting model for my legal services.
1. A comprehensive steady-state assessment,
2. A client-specific evaluation of the desired goals for the project,
3. A gap analysis to determine a roadmap to achieve the desired goals,
4. A comprehensive strategy with actionable tactics to implement,
5. Successive milestones to monitor and measure progress,
6. Execution and success followed with on-going management.
I ask you: How many lawyers have you met that understand your business from a first-hand perspective? You have to walk the walk to understand the path.