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5 Lawyerly Negotiating Tips for Small Biz Owners

By Betty Wang, JD on October 31, 2013 8:58 AM

Need some negotiating tips for your business?

Every day, small business owners put their negotiation skills to their test. From employee scheduling conflicts to vendor contracts, knowing how to negotiate is crucial when it comes to running a business.

You won't always have your business lawyer around to handle negotiations for you. So here are five lawyerly negotiating tips you may want to keep in mind:

  1. Do your research. First things first, make sure that you are prepared and do your research before you enter negotiations. It's crucial to know all the relevant facts, circumstances, figures, and any relevant law as well. If this seems daunting to you and it's a particularly crucial negotiation, you may want to consult an experienced business attorney who can guide you.
  2. Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Make sure you know which aspects of the negotiation you are willing to compromise on, as well as what terms are key priorities that you refuse to budge on.
  3. Have clear objectives in mind. Your objectives should be clear and set in place before you enter negotiations. It's easy to lose sight of what your ultimate goal is if the other party isn't on the same page as you, or if there are conflicting objectives. You don't want to end up agreeing to something that you didn't intend to commit to or that doesn't adhere to your business plan.
  4. Keep your company's resources in mind. Don't forget about exactly what resources you want to pull from or have available for this particular negotiation. Many companies are struggling in these unsure times, and ensuring that you stick to your budget is crucial.
  5. Be respectful of the other party. It takes two to tango, and negotiations are no different. It's important that you listen to the other party's concerns, and are open to their terms (as much as you can be, anyway). Without a basic level of trust, your negotiation may go nowhere fast. Not to mention, the lack of courtesy on your end could damage your business' reputation and image.

Remember, a successful negotiation allows both parties to compromise a little to achieve an outcome that's agreeable to everyone.

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