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:
- A short PowerPoint presentation;
- 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;
- A reference customer; and,
- 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.