Don’t fail the bozo test when negotiating with big companies

If your small business is going into a negotiation with a much larger company, it’s vital that you present yourself as a credible partner.

Remember that you — the entrepreneur — are as important as the product. Be professional, reasonable, prepared, and passionate about what you do and what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t fail the bozo test by making unreasonable demands!

And equip yourself with four essentials:

  1. A short PowerPoint presentation;
  2. A prototype and demo that works well enough that people can get the idea — it doesn’t have to be perfect. If it is a new product, forget about any fancy bells and whistles for now;
  3. A reference customer; and,
  4. Protection of your intellectual property so that your concept doesn’t get stolen.

Remember that big companies have more negotiating power than you do. Most likely they will have their own standard legal boilerplate agreements (NDAs, MOUs, supplier contracts, etc.) and these will be their starting point. That means your starting point also.

You may be used to being in the driver’s seat with your suppliers, so accept that the situation is reversed and go from there. Don’t slow everything down — or blow the deal — by getting the lawyers arguing.

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  • Meet Greg Graham

    Market Metrics Inc. helps knowledge-based businesses with strategy, planning and innovation and was founded in 2003 by Greg Graham, a seasoned marketing professional. Greg is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASMEC), a member of the American Marketing Association, and holds MBA/BEE degrees as well as a Certificate in Strategic Management. He frequently performs consulting engagements on behalf of the Government of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Prior to Market Metrics, Greg's 21 years of corporate experience encompassed tech start-ups through Fortune 500 companies.

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