GET IT IN WRITING!
By Matthew B. Tozer
Christians doing business with Christians. Christians entering in a business partnership with other Christians. “Let’s be casual.” “We’re brothers and sisters in Christ.” “We don’t need attorneys. We don’t need accountants.” “We don’t need a written agreement. We can work it out as we go.”
Many Christians assume that, just because they’re doing business with other Christians, they can skip the formalities of a written agreement. Wrong! Have you ever heard the phrase, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”? Ever heard the saying, “You really don’t know somebody until you live with them”? Insisting on utilizing a written agreement does not evidence a lack of trust; rather, it is exercising business prudence and good, common sense.
A well-written agreement protects all parties. Any good written agreement covers things that will happen, can happen, things that might happen, and unforeseen yet potential events. What happens when one of the married partners dies? Does his or her spouse become a partner? Does a child become a partner? If one partner wants out, what happens?
Quite frankly, not having a written agreement in business deals and partnerships is, in my opinion, extremely foolish--even amongst Christians!
If, perchance, you have entered a business or financial arrangement without a written agreement, at least write a written confirmation letter to the other involved parties stating the terms of your agreement. That’s not nearly as good as a formal written agreement, but, at least, it’s better than nothing.
Watch out for 11th hour or last minute propositions. Normally, stay clear of them. But, if you go forward, ask a lot of questions, perform your due diligence, careful investigation, and, finally, formalize the agreement in writing.
Due diligence means that the prospective buyer, investor, and/or participant will seek to learn everything possible about a business, investment, product and/or other persons involved before entering into and signing an agreement.
Even if the transaction passes the objective due diligence investigation, it should also pass the intuitive "smell test." If something stinks, then there has to be something rotten underneath.
Finally, pray to God to give you wisdom, understanding, and clear guidance about the potential agreement. "One should never initiate anything that he or she cannot saturate with prayer."
If you’re dealing in business with other Christians, don’t lower your guard. Even if you do you trust your Christian brother or sister, still create comprehensive written agreements when entering into business deals with them.