To Small Business Owners— Remember, Your Small Business is a Customer Too

By: Brian A. Mills, Esquire

The first rule of small business is that the customer is always right. Have you ever made a concession for a customer or client because he or she asked? And why do you do this? Because you value the relationship with the customer and want their business.

In the same vein, small business owners should remember that the businesses with whom they do business similarly value the relationship. All too often, we come across small business owners who are having difficulty with their bank, landlord or other vendors and when we review their loan documents, lease or business agreement, we find provisions that likely could have been negotiated to alleviate the burden of the situation for which the client came to us.

Don’t be afraid to tell your landlord that you want to have your lease reviewed by an attorney. Perhaps you can negotiate more favorable terms such as eliminating or limiting any personal exposure pursuant to a personal guaranty. Likewise, your lender might agree to eliminate prepayment penalties or other punitive provisions within the standard form loan documents. These are but two examples where an ounce of prevention might be worth a pound of cure. The bottom line is that when your business is doing business, it never hurts to ask. Seek the advice of a good attorney before signing a lease, loan documents or other agreements for your business. Your lender, landlord or vendor wants your business too and will likely make reasonable accommodation to keep your business happy– after all, the customer is always right!

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