Most small businesses will enter into a contract or business deal from time to time.  Some agreements may be simple while others may require the skills of a contract or business attorney.  In either case, you will want to feel comfortable that you have negotiated your best deal possible.  The following are five basic suggestions for negotiating the best terms for your next business contract:

  1. Set out your goals before you start.  The process of writing down your goals in the negotiation helps you clarify what you intend to do, understand the importance of significant issues, and commit yourself to making it happen.
  2. Do your homework.  You should know the law, relevant facts and figures.
  3. Decide what you really need and what areas are "throw aways".  Be prepared to trade something to get something important to you. 
  4. Build trust and listen to the other party.  A recent post from Brett Rogers sets out the importance of listening.  You learn far more in a negotiation from listening than you do from talking.
  5. Manage your emotions.  Resolutions rarely occur when parties lose their temper or become irrational.