Sometimes I read an article that gets me all fired up…exactly what happened with the great Op-Ed in the Business of Fashion – “Should Small Labels Accept Poor Payment Terms from Prestigious Retailers?” by Archer Adams. Two elements of Archer’s piece have stuck with me – firstly, that he wasn’t afraid to question the terms proposed to his company, even though the retailer was a big guy. Great example of not being afraid to ask questions, negotiate and work towards getting the best deal possible. But more than that, I think that Archer hit the nail on the head in realizing that there’s more value to a business deal than just the financial aspects.

“If I accept their terms, I stand to get significant benefits, including greater brand visibility, increased brand credibility and more sales. But can I find a way to tough it out financially while I wait to get paid? Is the potential financial pain worth the above?”

A lot of the time, business cases and negotiation decisions are metric and finance driven. How exactly do you quantify the upsides to a deal that may not deliver the best ROI according to the accountants? It’s possible to get really creative with crafting weighted decision matrices or decision-making trees, but really, you can’t.

Archer Adams, other small labels and most entrepreneurs have the benefit of not being tied to large corporate decision-making structures. So even though there aren’t firm numbers or predictable results attached, the knowledge that a deal will improve visibility, recognition or credibility is real. Is valuable. And can be blended into negotiations to great benefit.

Uncover Value With These Questions

What do you want this business deal to do for you?

(And the answer isn’t just ‘generate revenue’ – dig deeper)

If I don’t get these things from this deal, would I have to pay for it elsewhere?

(Visibility can be bought –what kind of campaign would you need to launch to match the benefit this deal can bring?)

What do I need more of in my life and business?

(More time, more energy, more flexibility? Think of what sweetness you’d love to add to your days)

How can I add value for my counterpart?

(Flip the table. Change the perspective. What non-monetary value can you deliver?)

What are the intangibles that bring value to your business? Have you ever trusted your gut in a negotiation, even if the numbers weren’t there? Does your bottom line include more than just classic margin and ROI?


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