The Academy

Ten Effective Negotiation Skills

Continued from last week

4. Emotional Control

It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results. For example, a manager frustrated with the lack of progress during a salary negotiation may concede more than is acceptable to the organization in an attempt to end the frustration. On the other hand, employees negotiating a pay raise may become too emotionally involved to accept a compromise with management and take an all or nothing approach, which breaks down the communication between the two parties.

5. Verbal Communication

Negotiators must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively to the other side during the negotiation. Misunderstandings can occur if the negotiator does not state his case clearly. During a bargaining meeting, an effective negotiator must have the skills to state his desired outcome as well as his reasoning.

6. Collaboration and Teamwork

Negotiation is not necessarily a one side against another arrangement. Effective negotiators must have the skills to work together as a team and foster a collaborative atmosphere during negotiations. Those involved in a negotiation on both sides of the issue must work together to reach an agreeable solution.

7. Problem Solving

Individuals with negotiation skills have the ability to seek a variety of solutions to problems. Instead of focusing on his ultimate goal for the negotiation, the individual with skills can focus on solving the problem, which may be a breakdown in communication, to benefit both sides of the issue.

8. Decision Making Ability

Leaders with negotiation skills have the ability to act decisively during a negotiation. It may be necessary during a bargaining arrangement to agree to a compromise quickly to end a stalemate.

9. Interpersonal Skills

Effective negotiators have the interpersonal skills to maintain a good working relationship with those involved in the negotiation. Negotiators with patience and the ability to persuade others without using manipulation can maintain a positive atmosphere during a difficult negotiation.

10. Ethics and Reliability

Ethical standards and reliability in an effective negotiator promote a trusting environment for negotiations. Both sides in a negotiation must trust that the other party will follow through on promises and agreements. A negotiator must have the skills to execute on his promises after bargaining ends.

Culled from Smallbusiness.chron.com and adapted



Ten Effective Negotiation Skills

As Yakubu Mohammed’s business grew, he knew there would soon come a time when he would be unable to handle everything by himself. As a small-scale produce dealer, he had to deal with a number of suppliers from time to time. Often that also meant negotiating prices, terms of delivery, plus quality as well. As he was planning to expand, thinking of additional staff to hire, he decided he had to include negotiation skills as key requirement for new staff. He contacted a friend, Mumuni, who shared these tips with him from what he had read somewhere:

1. Problem Analysis

Effective negotiators must have the skills to analyze a problem to determine the interests of each party in the negotiation. A detailed problem analysis identifies the issue, the interested parties and the outcome goals. For example, in an employer and employee contract negotiation, the problem or area where the parties disagree may be in salary or benefits. Identifying the issues for both sides can help to find a compromise for all parties.

2. Preparation

Before entering a bargaining meeting, the skilled negotiator prepares for the meeting. Preparation includes determining goals, areas for trade and alternatives to the stated goals. In addition, negotiators study the history of the relationship between the two parties and past negotiations to find areas of agreement and common goals. Past precedents and outcomes can set the tone for current negotiations.

3. Active Listening

Negotiators have the skills to listen actively to the other party during the debate. Active listening involves the ability to read body language as well as verbal communication. It is important to listen to the other party to find areas for compromise during the meeting. Instead of spending the bulk of the time in negotiation expounding the virtues of his viewpoint, the skilled negotiator will spend more time listening to the other party.

4. Emotional Control

It is vital that a negotiator have the ability to keep his emotions in check during the negotiation. While a negotiation on contentious issues can be frustrating, allowing emotions to take control during the meeting can lead to unfavorable results. For example, a manager frustrated with the lack of progress during a salary negotiation may concede more than is acceptable to the organization in an attempt to end the frustration. On the other hand, employees negotiating a pay raise may become too emotionally involved to accept a compromise with management and take an all or nothing approach, which breaks down the communication between the two parties.

…to be continued next week

Culled from Smallbusiness.chron.com and adapted



New Business Idea? How to Test It Before Launching

Nsikak Essien had been thinking about the “next big thing” for a very long time. His problem was how to start. He had put it so much time and energy into think and analyzing and he knew it was time to get started. Just do something. But how? How will he test his big idea and the hedge potential risks? In his quest for a solution, he met a friend, Akpan Obot, who had been there before. Akpan shared these tips with him.

Do you have an idea for the "next big thing"? You may think your idea is perfect the way it is, but it's wise to test it out before you spend a lot of time and money developing a business or product for which there's no market. Here are six steps to help you make sure your product is something the world wants, before you launch it.

1. First wait; then build a prototype or test service.

Although you're excited about your new business idea, you might want to wait a while before testing it. A venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur, said in a 2014 interview,
"After I've gone through the process of writing down a bunch of ideas, I don't like to rush into building a business plan or recruiting the team. I like to wait a few weeks, [to] see which ideas really stick with me."

2. Build a minimum viable product.

A minimum viable product, or MVP, is the simplest form of your idea that you can actually sell as product. Using the principles of Lean Six Sigma, the entrepreneur is advised to test and market early in the development process so that any tweaks or changes are in response to real feedback from the target audience.

3. Run it by a group of critics.

When you have your first prototype or test service ready, take it to your potential target customers. You should talk [to] and/or survey at least 50 potential customers, to see if they identify with the problem the same way you do. In other words, you need to find out if this is a real problem for a majority of your target market, or just a few.

4. Tweak it to suit your test market.

An inventor took a similar approach to testing 5by, an Internet video finder app he developed and has since sold. The inventor and his team went to college campuses and showed mock-ups of what the product was going to look like. They found the feedback from students invaluable in fine-tuning the original idea.

5. Create a test website with social media tie-ins.

Once the word is out about your product or business, the target market needs a place to get more information about it or to show it to their friends. Building a simple website and using social media are ideal tools to provide information and monitor how many people are interested in what you are selling.
You'll be able to tell if the idea will get traction from the number of click-throughs on the ads, and the number of people who fill in your form.

6. Create a marketing plan and use it.

All of the preparatory work means nothing if you do not perform enough actions to get a good measure of response. Once you have a viable product, you need to be able to act on the interest in it. Make a list of 100 things you can do to market the product, and then execute that list of 100, and in the process, speak with 1,000 people about the product.
If you do this, you will have data on your product. You'll know who is interested in it, what marketing strategies worked and didn't work, and how you can improve, all of which are invaluable steps in getting your idea and business off the ground.

Culled from Businessnewsdaily.com and adapted



10 Tips to Effectively Manage Vendors and Suppliers

Continued from last week

8. Pay On Time

Your supplier does a job and should be compensated for it. Consider the last time a customer was late paying you. Even if they had told you the check would be a few days late, consider the slight annoyance you felt at having to wait, and the relief you felt when the check finally arrived. Paying your vendors on time demonstrates that you respect them and the work they do.

9. Stay Flexible

This is different than planning for disasters or setbacks in your production schedule. Staying flexible means adapting to everyday issues that arise.

10. Continuously Work on Strengthening Your Relationship

Look for opportunities outside of general day-to-day contact. If you have a quarterly meeting or invite your suppliers to come and visit your facility, make sure to spend time with them and forge stronger bonds. Ask your suppliers for feedback. Encourage them to have open discussions with you about ways that the relationship could work better or more efficiently. Supplier relationships are partnerships and as such, are also a two-way street.

Forming long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers will aid you in keeping your manufacturing schedule on time and ensure that you make and sell quality products. These reasons are important enough to make sure that you manage your supplier relationships well.

To learn more about how to work with suppliers, read our article on how to negotiate the best deal with your suppliers.

Culled from quickbooks.intuit and adapted



10 Tips to Effectively Manage Vendors and Suppliers

For sometime now, Valerie Ubaka has been having sleepless nights over how to deal with her vendors and suppliers.
She has a bakery and she depends on third parties for the supply of a number of ingredients to guarantee quality, timely delivery and the maintenance of her equipment.

Lately, they have let her down so badly; she finally caught up with a friend who shared the following tips with her:

1. Choose Wisely

If you have the luxury of choosing from multiple suppliers, take the time to examine each one’s pros and cons. Determine which one can give you what you need, when you need it and for the right price. Evaluate everything from their response time to their contract terms to their costs. Relationships are most successful if they have the time to grow, so you want to select a supplier that you and your organization will be able to grow with.


2. Communicate

The easiest way to engender ill-will in any relationship is by a lack of communication. Take the time to communicate with your suppliers and ask for the same type of outreach in return. This is especially important regarding timelines. If a project timeline changes, your supplier should be one of the first people to know. An earlier alert keeps them in the loop and could make a mutually agreed upon solution possible. Your supplier should be able to problem-solve and troubleshoot issues pertaining to material quality and delivery, so use these traits to your advantage when you’re facing difficulties. Also, remember to not use communication as a way to test your suppliers. If you need them to meet a specific date, explicitly tell them. Don’t ask them to guess or read your mind and then be surprised when they can’t.


3. Understand Their Business

While you don’t need to necessarily understand every nuance about a supplier’s business model or operating procedures, having a general working knowledge of their policies will help you to better understand their values. It will also give you context to the challenges they face, which is especially important if you work in a business with shifting priorities and deadlines that requires a great amount of flexibility. If you understand why a supplier might say “no”, it makes it much easier to plan ahead.

4. Plan for Contingencies

There are normal everyday contingencies you should plan for, like late shipments or weather-ruined pallets. There are also major disruptions to plan for, like natural disasters or critical equipment failure. Most of these contingencies will probably be developed in-house, but you should make a concession for your suppliers and make sure they have a clear understanding of how you will expect them to behave should the unthinkable happen.


5. Put as Much Thought Into Rewards as Penalties

Penalties are there for those times when someone does not hold up his or her end of the deal. With that in mind, there should also be a reward for when work is above and beyond expectations. Thinking about worst-case scenarios is important, but also assume that suppliers will exceed your expectations, and that they should be rewarded when they do. A reward could be an especially prompt payment or a simple “Thank You” note.


6. Accept Accountability

Both the client and the supplier are responsible for the success or failure of the working relationship. Accept accountability for your place in the process by acknowledging that your decisions, delayed timing or changes in project scope directly impact the supplier’s ability to do his or her job well.

7. Invest in Supplier Management Software

This is really to preserve your sanity or the sanity of your office manager. Supplier relationship management (SRM) software is especially important as the number of suppliers you work with grows. It can be used to monitor supplier performance and keep all of your supplier details in one place. Many SRM programs also interface with accounting software, making for a seamless invoicing experience.

8. Pay On Time

Your supplier does a job and should be compensated for it. Consider the last time a customer was late paying you. Even if they had told you the check would be a few days late, consider the slight annoyance you felt at having to wait, and the relief you felt when the check finally arrived. Paying your vendors on time demonstrates that you respect them and the work they do.


9. Stay Flexible

This is different than planning for disasters or setbacks in your production schedule. Staying flexible means adapting to everyday issues that arise.

10. Continuously Work on Strengthening Your Relationship

Look for opportunities outside of general day-to-day contact. If you have a quarterly meeting or invite your suppliers to come and visit your facility, make sure to spend time with them and forge stronger bonds. Ask your suppliers for feedback. Encourage them to have open discussions with you about ways that the relationship could work better or more efficiently. Supplier relationships are partnerships and as such, are also a two-way street.

Forming long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers will aid you in keeping your manufacturing schedule on time and ensure that you make and sell quality products. These reasons are important enough to make sure that you manage your supplier relationships well.

To learn more about how to work with suppliers, read our article on how to negotiate the best deal with your suppliers.

Culled from quickbooks.intuit and adapted




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