If you are in the process of launching your new business, you may have to negotiate one or two contracts; perhaps with a partner, a supplier or an ad agency. It could be that this is a part of your business with which you have had little experience. Here are five tips to help you negotiate successfully:
1. Start with terms
First, prepare a term sheet to take to your meeting. You do not have to get into the weeds of the agreement here, just list the major points that you feel should be included in the contract. This gives you something to work with as negotiations commence.
2. Decide what you want
Some people enter negotiations not knowing what it is they really want from the deal. Do not go down this path. You should have a clear idea of your goals and what you expect to gain from the agreement.
3. Recognize that this is the starting point
The first meeting is for talking and reviewing, getting a feel for what is to come. It is just a starting point. If there is something you do not understand, it is perfectly fine to request clarification. There may be a need to refine the way the contract is written. You and the other party may want to discuss asking an attorney to polish some of the language or insert the kind of language the contract should have.
4. Keep a good attitude
When you sit down with the other party or parties, keep a good attitude, remain positive and be reasonable. The impression you make on others will be important to the success of the negotiations.
5. Consult professionals
Depending on the nature of the contract, you may want advice from professionals, such as an accountant or an investment counselor. Remember that contracts are binding and that they can be used in court to enforce the rights of one party or the other. Once the negotiations are finished, remember one final tip: Do not sign any contract or agreement until it is reviewed by an attorney.