I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season that was spent with family and friends and that all are looking forward to a prosperous 2019. As I think of our goals as a company going forward, I think they are very similar to those of the association. My theme of collaboration and working together with others to do something greater than what I could do by myself is always an annual personal and professional goal. Many people are concerned about opening up and working with others. There are some confidentiality concerns and also challenges of how a relationship can be started. To assist in getting our members to work together with others and other peers and clients, I am providing a couple of sample documents.
The first is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). NDA’s are common in business and offer a way to protect trade secrets and other confidential information meant to be kept confidential. If you would like to explore working with a peer in a neighboring state, town, or time zone, I encourage you to consider an NDA agreement. A generic sample that we use is attached here: Sample Non-Disclosure Agreement
It's a great way to start a conversation. You never know what can come of combining business interests and how you both may be able to capitalize on an opportunity. The NDA states, up front, that you are going to deal with confidential information and that both parties will treat it as such. I hope providing the document will help some of you reach out and work with others in the industry and especially in our association.
The second step of working with others is structuring the “deal.” A 1099 agreement is commonly used between companies and individuals. I propose using the framework of the document between firms to assist in peer business relationships. A copy of a standard 1099 form is available here: Sample 1099 Form
If you are in one state and a peer is in another or different territories with shared clients, you may be able to cover the entire footprint for a client. You will never know the business synergies until you start the conversation.
When working with other firms it is always prudent to get a Declaration Sheet for the company E&O and Work Comp policies. That will prevent unintended expenses for either party. You will want to do your due diligence, but finding the right partner can be the jet fuel to your firm.
As I think of everything I am thankful for in 2018, and hopeful for in 2019, working together and collaborating with the members of this great association are always on my list. I hope you can find some use from the sample documents and some ideas on how to work together going forward.
Happy New Year from the NAIIA. We wish you a happy and prosperous 2019. Cheers!
Your’s in Collaboration,