I’ve been on both sides of this equation.
We did several deals with companies bigger than us including:
- Companies that were distribution partners, and..
- Companies that were manufacturing partners, and…
- Companies that were possible acquirers.
There is one consistent thing about doing deals with large companies:
Partnerships with large companies take time.
Sometimes deals can years to happen. For example it took us over two years to make a deal happen with a large distribution partner.
We weren’t far enough along when we first met with the distribution partner, but we stayed in contact. Then, when we were ready and they were ready, we had to negotiate the deal, and…
Negotiations take time.
There’s nothing abnormal or surprising about a deal negotiation taking months to happen. You have a large company that is likely to have a long and detailed approval process.
Plus you got lawyers on both sides to deal with. So, even though you have to have a sense of urgency to make the deal happen, you also need lots of patience because…
- You make mistakes when you rush, and
- You make mistakes when you don’t work with a good contract attorney
Your sense of urgency will turn a six month negotiation into a four month negotiation. And working with a good contract attorney will help you from making big mistakes.
One final piece of advice: The devil is in the details.
You can’t, as CEO, have a superficial knowledge of the big deals you are making. You have get really deep into the details.
You have to know what every line of the contract means. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions everything makes sense. That’s where having an excellent contract attorney really pays off.
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