There have been a few major failures in my 25 years of business that I have talked about on my podcast show a few times. Admitting my own failure isn't easy to do, but I knew in order to move on, I would have to face my failure, deal with it and put it behind me. But more importantly analyze and pinpoint what and why I lost in those deals.
There is a valuable lesson to be learned in every failure. Although there is a very high cost, they are valuable, and I took them to heart. In 25 years; I have owned, leased, operated, bought and sold over 20 different types of businesses. They have ranged from restaurants to wholesale route sales and everything in between. Looking back I can say with confidence that all the ones I was successful at had one thing in common: a great negotiation that leads to a great deal either in the lease/rent or price. This is the most essential skill needed for any new business.
Looking back on the ones where I failed, I know where I went wrong. Again they all had one thing in common: I was too eager and desperate to pay attention to the details and agreed too easily to the terms I was offered.
When I started in the business, there wasn't a mentor or a book that taught me how to actually negotiate in business. Rather, I did what came naturally to me; little did I know that a common sense approach to business negotiations is not the best idea. It is really like a game of tough folks, where the one who doesn't blink wins. If this sounds strange, that's because it is strange but that's the reality. Over the years I learned to play the game of negotiation well as I had to practice it often in various business ventures.
Business negotiation is one skill no one is born with, nor should you "learn on the go" because the stakes are too high. Looking back at my very first deal to the last one, the journey has been painfully long and at times it cost me dearly. But one thing I will say is that most of the costly mistakes I made were limited to my early business life. Sure the more you do, the better you get at it.
I have always been the type of person who learns best by examples because I'm a visual person; I need to visualize and relate to a real life situation in order to completely understand the problem. If you're like me, then you will enjoy hearing the real life business negotiation story I share in the last chapter and can actually visualize how the process works.