If there’s one thing you need to take with you into this new decade, it’s the courage to think big. You are a small business owner, but it doesn’t mean you have bark with no bite. It’s imperative that you think of yourself as a business owner on the way to a linear expansion. One day you will find yourself sitting across the table from a larger business, that wishes to partner with you. It’s naive to think they will want what’s best for you. Unless you show some teeth, you will be taken advantage of. If you don’t fight for your corner in contract negotiation, you will be swindled. It’s just how the business world is. So now is the time to invest in your negotiation skills as a business.
Building a team
CEOs will have beside them, three key C-suite ranks and their personal legal advisory team. They will have the Chief Legal Officer (CLO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Chief Risk Officer (CRO). These three people will play a key role in forming a team that knows the penalties for not adhering to the obligations in any given contract, the financial implications of both the negatives and positives, as well as the future ability of your business to prosper. As always, the circumstances of your business will lay out the overall strategy. If you don’t have such a team with you, that’s okay. Pick the employees you believe to be your brightest stars and inform them of their role. If you’re a solopreneur, don’t worry, there are plenty of freelance professionals who can help you.
Devil in the detail
As with any negotiation, legal wording is where the devil resides. It will be the detail and jargon of the contract that will pose the most danger of being ‘had’. Therefore it’s in your best interest to give the finalized contract to a business lawyer, who can read it through and warn you of any pitfalls. Corporate attorneys provide the same legal services as a business attorney except they do so for LLCs, corporations, partnerships and alliances. As a small business owner, you will most likely be an LLC and involved in some sort of partnership talks such as distribution. Their expertise will be vital for handling contractual negotiations. A corporate attorney’s advice is worth the payment as once you sign a contract, you are legally bound to the obligations set forth.
Get what you want
Pitching is really a negotiation. Rather than waiting for another business to come knocking on your door, you should be more outgoing and assertive. Invest in your public speaking skills and presentation quality, and you can nail a pitch to a client that will invest in your business. When it comes to the nitty-gritty details of how much they should invest and what their side of the bargain is, you will know how to weave your way around their nerves and get the most you can for the least amount of risk.
This year you need to be more assertive and head out into the wide world, looking for the partnerships and investments you want. Backed up by a corporate attorney, there’s no contract that will fall victim to.