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Are NDAs important for Small Businesses?

February 21, 2017

Confidentiality Agreements, or Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) as it is more commonly known, are important to businesses big or small.

Draft Confidentiality Agreement (NDA) for free

NDAs are legally-binding Confidentiality Agreements or contracts that highlight information that should be kept confidential when an organisation enters into business with a different party.

With the economy growing so fast, there is a remarkable increase in the number of employees. And because of the increasing number of employees year after year, there is an urgent need for businesses to protect their trade secrets. The main purpose for any Confidentiality Agreement is to ensure that the parties involved sign an agreement asserting that they will not misuse the trade secrets for their own personal gains.

Therefore, regardless of big or small, a business should have such agreements, especially when discussing plans for the business, implementing unique techniques and procedures, etc. In any case, disclosure of the trade secrets by any of the parties could lead to prosecution.

Draft Confidentiality Agreement (NDA) for free

Who prepares NDAs?

Generally, NDAs are prepared by the Human Resource Department or the company’s corporate lawyer. If you do not have a business lawyer, do not panic. Most contract drafting organisations will be more than happy to draft an agreement contract for you if you get in touch with them.

Dragon Law’s trial account lets you create a Confidentiality Agreement for free. Get started.

What you must understand, though, is that an NDA does not state the nature of information that should be protected but rather protects any kind of detail that is trade secret. For instance, an NDA can contain details of a chemical formula used to make a specific product. Signing such an agreement would mean that the other parties will not by any chance disclose the information to any other person in the competitive scope.

Therefore, for as long as the other party signs the agreement, a business is assured that no trade secrets, details, plans or implementations will be leaked to its competitors. It is also up to the organisation or company creating the NDA to decide when, where, and how the other parties can pass some of that information and to who.

When is an NDA necessary?

When introducing a new product – when a new product is introduced, the first thing the company looks for is a good advertising agency to push the product to the market, right? Well, as the organisation introducing the new product, you should enter into a Confidentiality Agreement with the advertising agency stating that no details about the new product will be passed to the competitors.

Learn more: Essential clauses in an NDA

An NDA is also important when purchasing franchise rights, especially if you are buying from a renowned brand, or licensing rights.

In conclusion, irrespective of your business size, if you have some trade secrets that are worth protecting, (please) get a Non-Disclosure Agreement. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a lawyer or use trustworthy solutions that can help you draft an agreement.

This a guest contribution submitted by Bill Williams. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view! Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

Bill is a professional legal consultant who works at a local contract drafting agency. To learn more about NDAs, please visit their site.

 

Starting 2017 with Non-Doing

February 20, 2017

 

It’s February already – are you still thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? Whether it is getting fit, pursuing a passion or trying harder at work, most of these resolutions seem to fizzle out towards the end of February. In fact, anecdotal sources state that 92% of New Year’s goals fail by 15 January. Perhaps it is time to explore another approach!

The most important part of life is finding peace and fulfilment. So try thinking about what makes you happy, what you can be grateful about, what makes you laugh with joy and what gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. This can be anything. Is it playing a sport? Spending time with your family? Having a coffee with friends? Maybe there are multiple things or maybe there’s one standout activity. Whatever it is, highlight it in your mind. This serves as a simple reminder as to what truly matters to us.

If you’re not making this source of happiness a priority right now, it is most likely because your brain is over-cluttered and you’re not able to manage your attention. There are too many thoughts bouncing around your head and so you don’t even know how to attend to what really matters. It’s almost like someone else is running the show in your head and you’re just a passenger going along for the ride.

Interestingly, most of our brain power goes towards remembering memories and creating perfect scenarios. We spend most of our time thinking about the past or dreaming of the future, to the extent that we miss out on what’s happening right now. To break out of this autopilot cycle, we need to cultivate the mindful ability to be fully open to what’s happening right now, where we are in life and how we are feeling.

If you’re feeling sad, disappointed or hurt, then embrace the fact that that’s how you feel. When we can accept what’s really happening right now, we can then choose how to respond to the present moment with intention and wisdom. Only then can we move towards what matters to us. As Lama Surya Das shares, “If we are not here now, we won’t be there then.” This is the key to finding peace in this frantic world – something I think we can all agree that we want.

We cultivate mindfulness by meditating. Meditation trains our brain to immerse in the moment so that we are able to respond intentionally and not be swept away by the currents of life. It helps us develop a sense of deep equanimity, calm and composure. On top of this, here are some other researched and validated benefits of meditation:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Reduces careless mistakes
  • Increases creativity
  • Enhances memory
  • Enhances quality of sleep
  • Improves focus and reduces procrastination

To start the new year right, you don’t need a complete turnaround. Leave the striving, wanting, achieving and doing by the side. If these mental activities pop into your head, simply shrug your shoulders and let them be. Instead, take 5 minutes to sit in silence. Listen to your breath, listen to the aircon vent, listen to the traffic, listen to the buzz. Listen to your very own life, including all the mental activities, and watch it unfold. This is when the real new year celebration starts.

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This a guest contribution submitted by Emerge Performance and was originally published here. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view! Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

You may have met Anna by now – the protagonist of our new comic “Portrait of a Corporate Athlete”. She works in a MNC in middle management, she’s aspirational, positive, and intentional. But is that enough to climb the corporate ladder? To follow her as she navigates the economic jungle of 2017, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive the latest edition.

If you’re keen to realise some of the benefits of meditation mentioned in the article, join our mindfulness programs and events. Check out our Events page for the latest schedule and details. 

How Dragon Law uses Dragon Law to save 88 hours a month

February 14, 2017

In most of the articles on Dragon Law’s blog, we discuss the key challenges that startups and small businesses face, as well as how to tackle them. We recommend productivity tools that will help you streamline business processes, reduce administrative hassle, so you can save time, cost, and focus on growing your business.

We also explain how a cloud productivity tool like Dragon Law can help you achieve your legal needs in a fraction of the time, cost, and complexity. We advocate that companies should undertake assume a shift in mindset; from ringing an attorney when something goes wrong, to taking a preventative approach in getting it right from the outset.  

Still, we often hear questions like:

  • “There’s no one person in our organisation that oversees Legal. How would we use Dragon Law?”
  • “I have businesses in more than one country. Can I still use Dragon Law?”
  • “E-signing? Is it legal? More importantly, is it safe?”
  • “I don’t need your documents – I already have my own! Why would I still need Dragon Law?”

Also read: The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Dragon Law, Answered

So, how can a business integrate Dragon Law into its daily operations?

As a startup ourselves, we’re often also faced with too much to do and too little time. Here are three ways Dragon Law uses Dragon Law:

#dogfooding

 

1) Manage recruitment activity across Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia

Our CEO, Daniel, will tell you it’s not easy to run a business that grows 1000% a year. Dragon Law is now 50-man strong and growing everyday (see jobs here!). With a global HR function that is centralised in Hong Kong, how do we manage the creation and maintenance of Employment Agreements for 50+ employees across 3 jurisdictions, amid ever-changing employment regulations?

Also read: Amendments to the Employment Act: What it Means for Your Business

The good thing is that Dragon Law’s technology has been set to comply with the employment laws of Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and AustraliaNot only that – did you know there can be different variations of an Employment Agreement for one country?

Take Singapore for example.

While all employees under a Contract of Service are covered under the Employment Act, managers or executives are not excluded from Part IV of the Act (which provides for rest days, hours of work, annual leave and other conditions of service). Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower defines Managers or Executives a an employee who earns a basic monthly salary of more than $4,500, and their duties and authority may include one or all of the following:

  • Influencing or making decisions on issues such as recruitment, discipline, termination of employment, performance assessment and reward,
  • Formulating strategies and policies of the enterprise, and
  • Managing and running the business (Source: Ministry of Manpower).

If you were not familiar with the employment practices in a local office, you run the risk of overlooking such provisions and providing employees with the wrong set of benefits – which could land you in hot soup in the event of dispute!

Luckily, with legal productivity tools such as Dragon Law, we ask as you draft your Employment Agreement how much you were looking to pay your employee – less than S$4,500 or more than S$4,500? We the customise the contract to include the right provisions – and you’d get it right without having to worry about it.

If you are creating an Employment Agreement for Hong Kong and stipulate less than 7 days’ in annual leave, the minimum requirement under the Employment Ordinance, our app also notifies you of the error and prompts you to re-enter.

With senior employees, you use a Director’s Service Agreement which contains stricter provisions for confidentiality, intellectual property (IP) rights, and post-termination restrictions.

Who uses Dragon Law: 

  • Chief Operating Officer/HR Director/Recruitment Lead/Office Manager
  • Your new hire

Documents you need:

What you save:

  • The time and cost of sourcing, evaluating, and engaging hiring a law firm locally – 5 working days = 40 hours
  • The hassle of printing, scanning, and filing (or even couriering) – a day at the post office = 8 hours 
  • The risk of getting it wrong – a piece of mind = priceless!

 

2) Work with partners in other countries

Scaling your business involves working with partners in other countries. In the past, it took few plane rides and in-person meetings, or good ol’ snail mail in order to get a wet-ink signature on a hard copy document.

Are e-signatures legal? 

Does it differ from country to country, or even document to document?

Find out in our FREE eBook on e-signatures:

 

But getting a document signed isn’t even the hard part. 

Contracts pass through many hands in the negotiation process, and this can lead to inconsistent versions, incongruent clauses, and errors in general.

A structured Q&A process in a document builder like Dragon Law means that when you amend a clause, the technology automatically ensures that corresponding numbers will match, numbers run correctly, and new rules are triggered to either set compatible clauses or prompt you for even more data that you might have missed out.

Who uses Dragon Law: 

  • Commercial/Partnership Directors
  • Your new partners/agencies/vendors

Documents you might need:

What you save:

  • Travel time and cost – 1 return flight around Asia = 16 hours
  • Back and forth over email, marking and tracking changes, versioning and reviewing documents = 10 hours 
  • Printing, scanning, and filing (or even couriering) – a day at the post office = 8 hours
  • The risk of getting it wrong – a piece of mind = priceless!

 

Use the power of the cloud to store, share, collaborate, e-sign, and manage your business documents.
Start Dragon Law free trial
No credit card required.

 

3) Automate our most frequently used documents

Is there a particular document that you use day-in-day-out at your company? Perhaps, like us, you are hiring aggressively and tend to need Employment Agreements. Or you might deal with many vendors/suppliers or have many clients – and often need to have agreements such as the Sale of Goods Agreement, or Distribution Agreement. If you already have your own template, but want to empower your managers to generate them even faster, and minimise error – you can get your template automated with Dragon Law!

When we launched our Startup Plan, we allowed monthly billing on the condition that a client will commit to a full year’s subscription. This meant we had to put in place a Subscription Agreement to govern the contractual relationship. By automating our Subscription Agreement, our sales team is empowered to share the contract with clients digitally, the client e-signs to signify their commitment, we then send an invoice and – the deal is closed!

Without legal technology, this would traditionally take a requests to the legal team and take a few days to turn around. In the worst-case scenario, a salesperson might lose out on potential a deal if a client was going impatient or had changed their mind.

Learn more about automating your documents with Dragon Law

Start Dragon Law free trial

Who uses Dragon Law: 

Documents you can automate

  • Our app already contains 500+ documents for use in 5 different countries. But if the document you need is not available, or you prefer to have your own template, then we can automate any document you send us!

What you save:

  • Your salespeople save time, so does your legal department = 4 hours
  • Documents accessible and stored in a centralised bank instead of passing it across departments = 2 hours
  • The risk of getting it wrong – a piece of mind = priceless!

Total time saved with Dragon Law = 88 hours

 

As you prepare your business for 2017, think about the ways in which you can build your business to be more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Is it time to consider an online productivity tool that can help you meet your legal needs in a fraction of the time, cost, and complexity?

Contact us now to schedule your 30-min Legal Health Check and learn what Dragon Law can do for your business.

5 ways to level up your business in 2017

February 8, 2017

Forget fancy marketing techniques and convoluted copywriting. Go back to basics if you want to make bank in 2017. We’ve got the low-down on the five key focus areas to take your business to the next level.

#1 Invest in your Website

Your potential clients and customers are actively trying to find your business using Google, word-of-mouth, and social media. Your website should make it easy to convert these users from “potential” to “actual”.

Related reading: 7 Online Marketing Tips For Your Small Business

Consider:

Is your site mobile-friendly? If not, Google is actively penalising your site and pushing it further down the search rankings, making it harder for people to find you and giving your mobile-friendly competitors a boost.

Does your website have a clear message for visitors the moment they land on the home page? Tell people exactly what you do, and why they need you, as soon as they arrive.

Does your site represent your vision for your brand? Are the fonts, colours and images used consistent? A strong visual look and consistency will make your business look more professional and credible.

Use Google Analytics to understand where your potential customers are dropping off. If it’s your homepage, perhaps it’s too confusing for them and your call-to-action is not strong enough? If it’s on your blog perhaps you need to organise your content and articles better?

So invest in your website, and take the time to book a website strategy session with experts in this field to learn from them what your potential pitfalls are. An external expert can give an impartial opinion and help you fix problems you might not even be aware of.

#2 Use Social Media

Your social media profile is the virtual storefront of your small business and it’s a powerful tool to grow your reach, especially now that your customers are on mobile. Facebook for example has 540 million users active in Asia Pacific alone, and it could be a key revenue driver for your business.

Also read: 5 Tips for Making Facebook Marketing Part of Your Social Media Strategy

While these mediums provide an incredible opportunity, it has also grown more complicated to grow your reach. Decide on your social media strategy (targeting just one or two platforms) is going to be and then create a content calendar so you can post consistently. Consider using third-party tools such as Hootsuite to save time and minimise the effort it takes to schedule and post on multiple social media platforms.

Also consider using Facebook to market through targeted groups, or LinkedIn for re-publishing your business blog posts.

Remember, each social network requires different content and a different style of engagement. It’s better to be a master of one, than a jack of all trades with social. Whichever social media channels you choose to participate in, you must be active, engaged and consistently put out quality content.

#3 Spread Knowledge through Inbound Marketing

Starting a well-designed blog that showcases your value proposition to your clients is a great first step to inbound marketing. But how exactly does it help?

3 ways:

  1. Build Authority in your Niche
    As you build followers, when they need advice or services in your area of expertise YOU will be the first person they will come to.
  2. Qualified Leads
    People will come for your content in a subject matter they’re interested in, and then stick around to buy your products and services.
  3. Better Search Ranking
    As long as you publish quality content that helps audience solve their problems (and that doesn’t mean keyword stuffing), you will be rewarded by the Google gods!

#4 Bundle Your Products and Services

According to Forbes, sales from “mixed bundling” offerings are stronger than when products are sold individually. Especially for price sensitive customers, bundling your services/products is a great way for them to get off that fence of uncertainty and reach for their credit cards.

Enjoy all the benefits of technology PLUS professional service from an expert.
Check out Dragon Law Business Plans:

Take some time to analyse your business to see which offerings can be bundled together to add value to your clients. If you are a photographer for example, it might make sense to bundle an engagement shoot along with the wedding photography and offer a slight discount on both, guaranteeing yourself more business and making life easier for your clients.

#5 Outsource or Automate

Learn to outsource and automate tasks, especially labour-intensive ones that do not generate income directly, to free up your time to focus on your business strategy. Freelancers or Virtual Assistants can be of great assistance without breaking the bank! If you’re worried delegation may have an adverse impact on quality of work, ensure you put in the place the right guidelines and policies, as well as documentation to safeguard your rights when things go wrong. 

Learn more:
Types of Workplace Policies   Essential clauses in a Consultancy Agreement

 

Besides automating the tedious process of putting business documents together, Dragon Law also helps you become more efficient more efficient by digitising your legal paper trail.

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This a guest contribution submitted by Divya Ginna. The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Dragon Law may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view! Learn more about guest blogging for Dragon Law here.

Divya is a freelance writer and loves to geek out on all things branding & web design-related to see how these aspects can transform your business into a powerhouse of profit!

 

Your favourite online legal software – now available in Australia

February 1, 2017

From Zero to One to Five

The idea for Dragon Law started in 2012 as two ambitious lawyers who dreamt about revolutionising the way businesses perceived and managed legal.

Daniel Walker and Jake Fisch, Co-Founders of Dragon Law (2012). Read the story

We’re stoked to announce today that Dragon Law, the business that was born out of Daniel’s living room, has launched into our fifth country, Australia, with a suite of 44 documents designed for startups to use.

Check out 44 documents designed for Startups in Australia

 

Dragon Law now available for 5 countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Australia

 

The launch of our Startup Plan in Australia promises Australian startups a suite of 44 documents they will need through the phases of Pre-Startup, Startup, Growth, and Maturity. Subscribers pay a one fixed price upfront for a personalised on-boarding session, and a monthly subscription to get unlimited access to the document library to create, store, and organise their documents.

 

Early-bird offer!

To celebrate our launch, we will waive the on-boarding fee (worth AUD 1,100) for all users who sign up for a Startup Plan in Australia or New Zealand for the month of February.

Claim early-bird offer for Australia

Claim early-bird offer for Australia     Claim early-bird offer for New Zealand

 

By signing up for a free trial, you also get to upload and e-sign your documents for free. No more bulky attachments and unnecessary printing and scanning!

Upload and sign your own documents with a FREE Dragon Law account. Sign up now – no minimum commitment, no credit card required.

 

The availability of multiple user accounts also lets you share documents and set permissions and workflow. This means your team managers can be empowered to create documents or access legal help whenever they need – cutting out unnecessary back-and-forth administrative processes.

Dragon Law’s for Startups. View 44 documents for Australia

 

What sets Dragon Law apart is most notably the availability of expertise and support from our Client Service team. While the idea of legal self-service sounds appealing; we understand if you still have questions! Help is just a click away within your Dragon Law app:

Help is just a click away with Dragon Law in-app LIVE chat

 

What’s next for Dragon Law in Australia and New Zealand?

Keep an eye out for increased Dragon activity in ANZ – we’ll have Dragons on the ground who will play a huge role in developing the startup ecosystems in Australia and New Zealand, especially with our signature Legal Academy series of events.

Ready to try everyone’s favourite online legal service?

Start Dragon Law free trial