If you don’t have the luxury of a fixed easy pricing model then you are constantly negotiating. This is a skill that many small business people either dread or handle poorly. If you are uncomfortable with negotiating then you are probably not getting what you need from your relationships and if you are comfortable it is also possible you are overly aggressive and consider getting your way, your price a success. But both of these cases can reduce your business and the money you make.
The uncomfortable negotiator will often want to exit the negotiation as quickly as possible. This discomfiture means that you can get a lower price for your work and lose jobs that would be beneficial to your business. The overly aggressive negotiator will often lose jobs and leave some clients with a level of unhappiness that does not support the good reputation that helps you expand and develop your business to a greater level.
Negotiation Provides Structure
In this article with 5 tips on negotiation, a structure is provided for both types of people who will help calm and guide them as well as give reasons why it’s important to get a win-win solution above a win-lose. In working with small businesses I have seen some cultural barriers to the awareness of this last point. If you have grown up in a culture where a win-lose is the norm then it becomes a draconian skill that is honed to a level that is natural and works for you.
In the US, UK, Australia and Canada the business cultures have developed a deeper awareness of the process where the client is a key promoter of your business. It is tapping into that network that expands your business and supports it. When you need it you should be able to go to your clients and ask them to help you. If they have a network either offline or online where you wish to find new prospects then ask them directly. Your good work and fairness needs to carry through after the job is complete. Having an enthusiastic support base is your buffer to down business cycles.