Business ventures should never be set up without a clear and comprehensible intention. This purpose gives all activities one direction. The most profane is to win. However, the intention does not always have to be the first, the fastest, the greatest, or the pressure to grow steadily. The direction could also be a fitter company, or better utilization of existing resources, or more satisfied employees. If people do not agree on one direction, any success can be undermined by concurrent disparate efforts by the various parties. That is why the intention considered by all parties is an important prerequisite on the way into the future.
The intention is somewhere between growth and contraction (horizontal axis) and between the gradual change of first order and the radical change of second order (vertical axis). Put simply, the following intentions arise.
Making the current business more robust doesn’t sound very exciting. The protection of viability on the basis of the available means is a good measure to experience the future. For this purpose, existing offers can be developed, better placed or advertised. Additionally, the chosen value discipline (customer, product or process orientation) can be further applied.
As long as the revenue has good prospects, this is a reasonable approach.
Business can be made fit for the future by leveraging existing core aspects, offerings, sequences and capabilities and by mobilizing existing skills. For this purpose, the image of the company is polished up, the culture is described or the entrepreneurial awareness of the employees is refreshed.
It is a question of making greater use of established paths with the current range of offers.
When adjacent fields of business are identified and decisively developed, new work contents, forms and fields of activity emerge. This is made possible by continuous creation, cross-functional cooperation and shifting the boundaries of end-to-end operations.
The closer surroundings of the own field of activities are easily accessible and offer direct contacts for the add-on of the own assortment.
When you leave the comfort zone of the previous market, completely new possibilities open up. New business can be exploited and previously unnoticed partners can be found. In the end, this changes the building blocks of the business. Everything starts with radical BPR, the invention of new portfolios and the opening of completely new customer groups.
Such developments are driven by personalities, who have a clear idea of what they can additionally do for their customers.
If the entrepreneurial body suffers from overweight and the incomes do no longer cover the current enterprise, a thought-out compaction of the activities is inevitable. The whole thing should not be torn into the abyss – e.g. closure of plants, losses or bankruptcy. This is made possible by abandoning tasks that no longer contribute, because they are obsolete or simply no longer in demand. Tasks that are not part of the core business are outsourced.
Superfluous business and routines are proliferating, if you don’t notice the need for action and don’t take early care to shift capacities.
When all measures have been exhausted, economic collapse will occur sooner or later. In the interest of all those involved, the orderly task or separation of individual areas or locations is the last resort, if it enables employees to make a secure transition to new tasks.
Due to the early dissolution, external entrepreneurs may find ways to continue the business under different premises.
Bottom line: It may seem strange that the intentions can always be condensed into the six directions described. As soon as you start selecting the direction, you will quickly notice that nerve-wracking discussions are being replaced by joint plans. The distinct intention should be clear to every manager and every employee and the areas should be aligned in a common direction. It is the ONE intention behind any effectual strategy.
A negotiation is the interest-driven tug-of-war to attain an agreement. This may be purchasing hardware, agreeing a service or other reconciled interests. The assumed relationship between the negotiators has a great influence on the negotiation. If an applicant is in a job interview, the question, who offers what, is crucial to the relative negotiating position. In the case of cheap labor, the applicant is in a lost position, because the next one is already waiting for this chance. Rare specialists are more likely courted and thus are in a better position. These black-and-white situations are rather easy to cope with. It becomes difficult, if a conversation partner devotes himself to the illusion of holding all the trumps in his hand and gambles without measure. A few prerequisites have to be created in order to have negotiations on a level playing field with reciprocal satisfaction. Then mutual enrichment is reachable.
In real negotiations both parties have to offer something and the outcome is open. Only when this starting point applies to both, it is worthwhile to invest time into the negotiations.
- Sufficient information
Even if it sounds banal, the availability of the relevant information is crucial. This does not only mean that you get the desired information, but also that you have the obligation to provide relevant information. This information does not consist only of length, width, weight, quality, or price, but also includes the expectations of the contracting parties, which are often hidden behind the object of negotiation. This does not mean, however, that all cards are put on the table from the beginning. It is more important to give at any time a satisfactory answer to the questions of the opposing party. The difference between tactics and the state of not knowing results from one’s own preparation, which has to be done in advance. It is an important expression of mutual appreciation. The parties continuously receive that way a better insight. This allows both sides to approach each other.
- Ensure feasibility
The negotiating items are often not specific enough that one would be able to compare one alternative with the other. The effort involved in a project is determined by the difficulty, the components, the quality, and it often depends on the cooperation of the customer. The description of these framework conditions is never accurate enough that one could derive exact estimates from it. The first and most important step is that the negotiation object, what the customer expects, is feasible. The client is usually represented by several people, who might have very different ideas. In the interest of feasible outcomes, sufficient information about all requirements and the offer is crucial. The feasibility is the easier to recognize, the clearer the assignment is for both parties. On this basis, it an agreement materializes, or not.
- Live and let live
The real contractual object is the price. Actually it is not necessary to point out that the buyer wants to achieve as much as possible for as little as possible, as well as the seller fights for as little as possible for as much as possible. Nevertheless, there are always negotiating partners who think that this issue is unknown to the other side. It is smarter to choose a more understanding approach. Striving for a good price and a suitable offer is legitimate. One’s attitude determines the acceptability for the other in the negotiation. It is not an advantage to bamboozle the contract partner. In the worst case, it hurts him so much that he is no longer available – which becomes one’s own disadvantage. That’s why: Live and let live.
Negotiations have a clear goal – achieving a closing. Considering the expenses that both parties put into the needs-oriented preparation, it is inconvenient for both, if the closing does not materialize. However, to make a conclusion, the key is the magic word “compromise”. Everybody has to approximate the respective situation and each other’s expectations. This leads to the adaption of some requirements – e.g. a price limit, a desired range of services, an overstated claim to the result quality, and cheeky excessiveness. In order to nip later dissatisfaction in the bud, it is absolutely necessary to bring the facts into a form which adequately outlines the requirements and deliverables. The final contract is the framework for the delivery of the service. Potential changes should be documented later on, to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
Bottom line: Many people have already talked about the prerequisites for negotiations. In any case, it is crucial to provide sufficient information, to focus on feasible areas, to ensure your own life and the life of the other side, and, above all, to eventually reach a printable conclusion. Now nothing remains to reach a mutual enrichment.