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Part 5 of the Startup Playbook Series.

In part 5 of the Startup Playbook Series, we look at how you can interact and engage with your customers, clients, and hopefully, champions of your business.

Engaging with clients and customers

Whether you’re a startup or a small business, at the end of the day, your aim is going to be to get as many people using your services or products, as quickly as possible. You want to make it easy for your clients and customers to do business with you. Particularly if you are in an environment where capital raising is difficult, you will want to demonstrate that you have a customer list and some amount of revenue.

What does it take to get customers on board? While there’s no magic formula, a great user experience is fundamental from the get-go. A quick and seamless onboarding process can be aided by using standard form documents for all clients and customers.

User experience

Language and tone can sometimes be overlooked – but are important pieces of the puzzle. Your terms and conditions should reflect:

  • Who you are
  • Who your clients and customers are
  • What you do.

Just because terms and conditions are legal documents does not mean that they need to be so full of jargon that you need a lawyer to explain it to you.

Certainty and protection are also important pieces of the puzzle. Whilst the language and tone need to be accessible and on brand, establishing the fundamentals of the relationship between your company and your users in your terms and conditions is the main aim here.

  • If you are delivering services, be clear on what it is that you are doing
  • If you are creating products, make sure that the claims you make about what it can do can be backed up
  • If something does go wrong, how responsible are you going to be for any damage that is caused?

Terms and Conditions: Checklist

Language and Tone
  • Who are your clients or customers?
  • Who are you?
  • How do you want to be perceived – more formal or informal?
  • What do you think your clients or customers would expect?
  • Are there any industry specific terms or language which should be included?
Certainty and Protection
  • Who owns what you make for your customers?
  • What services are you performing and for how long?
  • What insurance protection will you need?
  • Who are you entering into this agreement with?
  • What will you be getting paid and when will you get paid?
  • Are there ways to limit your exposure if your services or products are faulty? 
  • Does your insurance policy match up to what you are doing?
User experience and Data storage
  • At what point in the contracting process does your client or customer accept your terms?
  • Is there a difference in the process for B2B or B2C?
  • If you use a clickwrap agreement, how and where do you store evidence of ‘signing’ the agreement?
  • What happens when clients or customers want to negotiate custom terms?

I found a free template online – can I use it?

While it may be tempting to use generic terms and conditions you find on a template website, often times the terms and conditions are the only rules establishing your relationship with clients and customers, and it’s important to get them right.

Early stage startups looking to operate lean will often look for an easier, cheaper option. While in some cases a templated document will work until you’ve proven product-market fit, for example, depending on your product or service, the T&Cs might be your single most important document. This might not always be the case, but we prefer to stay on the safe side of legal liability issues, and hope you do too.

Read on to Part 6: Suppliers.

Get in touch with the Burch&Co Startup & Capital team for assistance in designing a great user experience, even with the legal side of things.

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