Brymo is a Nigerian artiste with a number of hit songs, remember Ara mbe? Or Good morning?

Definitely beautiful singles. But… we digress. Remember he has been at war with his previous recording label Choc city?

Much so that they sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining Brymo from breaching the terms of their Exclusive Recording Artist Agreement, as well as N100 million as damages.

You are probably wondering what went wrong with that contract or if the dispute could have been avoided?

Something went wrong for sure, but you can reduce the chances of something going wrong in your own contracts with the red flags you should never ignore.

First question to clear: Does, scribbled words on a paper towel count as a contract?

Yes! Written words on a paper towel is a valid contract. You just have to make sure it contains the important/key aspects. 

Here are the top “Man this doesn’t feel right” flags you should watch out for in your contract.

RED FLAG 1- Insisting that no contract is needed.

Whoa! Tell whoever you are negotiating with to stop right there.

In the Nigerian setting, it could be you going into business with family or friends. It is likely that at some point, this will be suggested. You owe it to your future self to rid yourself of all avoidable heartaches.

No matter how well you know a client or partner, or how simple a project or business deal appears to be, you ALWAYS need a contract to set things straight.  If someone is not willing to sign a contract with you in the first place, it could be an indicator that they are looking to pull some weight or renege on your agreement.

Fix it: You, (The ambitious entrepreneur, freelance writer, website developer, or a trader) need to stand your ground and make sure there is a DULY SIGNED agreement in place. Not to worry about too many legalities, your contract does not have to be long and fancy, simplicity is your friend. Take for instance the paper towel contract.

RED FLAG 2- You are not sure who the parties are 

Take for instance:

Zainab is in discussion with Babo Event Planners. Zainab wants them to plan her wedding. But she asks for a contract (A very wise woman!).

She does get a contract but it lists the party involved as Babo and sons Catering. Zainab is confused. Is Babo Event Planners the same company as Babo and sons Catering? She sends a mail asking for clarification but they tell her not to worry, after all there is something the two names have in common- Babo!

Big red flag!

Having no clear idea who the parties are, will leave you with no clear picture of who is responsible for performing the obligations stated in the contract. Importantly, who do you have legal rights against if things go south?

Fix it: You need to identify the business you are dealing with by its correct legal name. This includes the suffix in the name such as whether Limited or LTD.

Doing this will help you avoid confusion and identify corporate officers as such. 

RED FLAG 3- Woozy payment obligations

There is no clear indication of  who is paying who and what is being paid. Money is a contentious issue and unfortunately for mankind, it’s going to remain so.

If there isn’t any mention of when payments must be made, and the conditions for making payments, your red antennas needs to go off… loudly!

Don’t play with your money