As a small business owner, contract negotiations likely take up a fair amount of your time. After all, you have contracts with your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your distributors, etc. You expect these contracts to result in successful associations between you and the other parties. The last thing you want is a contract dispute.

MoneyMatters.com advises that in order to prevent disputes, all of your contracts should contain certain things. First and foremost, they must contain a legitimate offer and a legitimate acceptance. In other words, one party offers something to the other party and that party agrees to accept the offer. The receiving party also provides consideration; i.e., (s)he agrees to pay a certain amount for the goods or services or to perform certain actions as his or her part of the bargain.

It goes without saying that both parties must have the capacity to contract. For instance, you and (s)he must both be of legal age and must have the mental capacity to understand what you are agreeing to. In addition, both parties must have a very clear idea as to the agreement terms and must freely give his or her consent to them.

Finally, the contract must contain a lawful agreement, meaning its purpose must be legal, not illegal, immoral or against public policy. In addition, the actions called for must not only be explicit, but also each party must have the capacity to perform his or her agreed-to actions.

Your best interests dictate that you use only written contracts. You and your attorney should always draft them in the clearest, most easily understood language possible. Contracts full of legalese will only lead to misunderstandings and the possibility of contract disputes.