When failure is not an option: Negotiating and leading through the pandemic – as an entrepreneur
When the whole country went into lockdown, a family father set out to meet his client, whom he had been servicing successfully for 5 years. Armed with a negative Covid test result and a glimmer of hope, he drove the 1,200 km route across the border into the neighboring country. His companions were major worries and the greatest motivators of all: love and responsibility – for his family and the families of his 120 employees all of whom depend on his entrepreneurial activities. At the end of the 10-hour drive he simply could not believe his eyes: He was standing in front of closed doors. His customer had had to close his factory due to the lockdown.
Risks are part of business and negotiating skills are part of everyday life.
Covid and the lockdown thwarted plans for all of us. There are those who are working remotely from home (mostly salaried employees). And there are those who are no longer allowed to work or are not able to work because there is simply little to no work left. These people get neither unemployment benefit nor can they work short hours. However, they still have bills to pay – social security, fixed costs, salaries, loan installments, family upkeep and … taxes.
These people, the entrepreneurs, know that risks are part of business and negotiating skills secure their daily bread.
Negotiating/acting and leading skillfully in the crisis
1) Exchange “energy guzzlersˮ for resources
Ask yourself which projects and clients are worth investing your energy in? Which of your costs can be optimized? Perhaps you can negotiate better conditions for your rental or leasing contracts or share these resources with someone? If you have to negotiate under pressure, I recommend these 5 tips
Here you can find 3 helpful steps if you are re-negotiating contracts
Analyze what consumes your time and money now. And then throw them overboard! No ifs and buts: Focusing on essentials and freeing up resources is not just the order of the day now. If you manage to maintain this focus for yourself and your business beyond the “present exceptional circumstancesˮ, you will have done a lot for the efficiency and success of your business in the long run!
2) Invest but correctly!
Even if it appears too bold: it’s worth investing. But in what? In the strategic (re)positioning of your company: Now is the best and right time to do it. My recommendation to you is to take your time now and think at least one to three years ahead – with all the uncertainties that entails. Develop a concept for the expertise that is required. Check yourself and your employees for existing expertise and compare. Maybe it makes sense to deploy staff elsewhere? Which qualifications will you have to “buy inˮ? Here are some ideas if you have got employees working short hours.
3) Upgrade your products
I know that you have got a strategy and that you don’t want to sacrifice quality either. But remember that our needs have changed rapidly in the last few months and your customers are no exception. Ask yourself what new expertise, services and products your business partners need. Add to and update your offers to meet the needs of your customers.
4) New customers, new game
Expand your horizons in terms of markets, customers and cooperation. You don’t have to follow every new trend but don’t forget that innovations have often developed out of necessity. You can develop new products and gain access to new customers through cooperation partners.
Be careful about sharing costs, risks and losses! In my experience – gained over 20 years – as a lawyer and negotiation expert for banks, I have experienced a lot and learned from this. Please read the following on successful price negotiations as an entrepreneur.
Would you like to have a sparring partner at your side right now with whom you can prepare solidly for the negotiations – from the perfect negotiation strategy through to its implementation?
I am an entrepreneur at heart, which is why I have a very special offer just for you:
Try it out. In a 60-minute Target Setting session – in Vienna or online – we will review your issues and take the first steps. You will see that by doing this you have already achieved a lot. If you are enthusiastic and would like to continue along this path with me, this initial meeting will be free of charge.You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or +436602400135.
Your Raluca Ionescu