In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.Chester L. Karrass
You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.J. Paul Getty
The fellow who says he’ll meet you halfway, usually thinks he’s standing on the dividing line.Orlando A. Battista
Like it or not, you often will be negotiating something in life, and always will be negotiating something in an entrepreneurial pursuit. The negotiation could be direct or indirect, obvious or subtle, but as an entrepreneur, you always will be negotiating.
As just one example, my colleague Michael (first author of this text) shared with me a very important lesson in this regard from one of the angel investors that was his first major outside investor, Peter. Peter was seventy-one years old when he first became involved in my friend’s commercial fish farming company. He was the master at just about everything to do with starting a new business. Peter had left a Big 4 accounting firm (probably was the Big 8 back then) to launch his entrepreneurial career, when he had four children and a wife to support at the time. Among other deal points, Peter negotiated with Michael to purchase a 20% equity stake in his company in exchange for Peter’s cash investment. Michael violated a soon-to-be-learned rule, one that Peter was about to teach him the hard way. Peter had originally agreed to invest in the company for 18%, but later simply said that he’d feel a lot better if my friend could “round up” this figure to 20%. It wasn’t necessary, but it would be “nice.” Wanting to get the deal done, given that the parties were so close, and concerned he might otherwise disappoint or aggravate Peter, Michael said, “OK.” Michael didn’t ask what he would get for bumping up Peter’s equity stake or say something such as, “I’ll do that for you if you do XYZ in return.” Peter later told Michael that this was part of the negotiation, not simply a casual request.