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This Sucks!

Brian Buck
© Scotwork NA

Listening to an interview with James Dyson he shared the story of how he got his vacuum cleaners into retail. His vacuum was so revolutionary (bagless, cyclone suction, etc.) that some retailers were skeptical. Therefore, they demanded that he advertise on TV before they would take his vacuum; an expensive and risky endeavor.

As an entrepreneur trying to make it, you might be surprised on James Dyson’s response and how he dealt with that negotiation.


“I could only get into the shops if I promised to advertise on television,” recalls James Dyson in an interview with Guy Raz on How I Built This from NPR. “I didn’t have the money. I said to the first retailer who demanded that, look if you order 10,000 vacuum cleaners from me, I’ll put all the profit into TV advertising.” Spoken like a true entrepreneur (and a damn good negotiator!).

Successful entrepreneurs have a knack for finding their way around obstacles and leveraging what they have to get to where they need to be. I’ve had the good fortune of being around a lot of great entrepreneurs and here are a few ways entrepreneurs deal with obstacles.

Believe you will succeed

We’ve heard it a thousand times, attitude is everything but for entrepreneurs this is even more so in the face of adversity. Successful entrepreneurs believe they will succeed. They may not always know how they will make it happen, but they always have confidence that they will overcome any obstacle thrown at them. At the negotiation table, they walk-in with confidence knowing a deal can be made that they find acceptable.

Everything is an opportunity

In James Dyson’s case, he could have easily said “no” to the advertising demands. Instead he looked at it as an opportunity to get what he wanted. He wasn’t philosophically opposed to doing the advertising, he just needed a way to pay for it. Instead of looking at the advertising as an obstacle, he looked at it as an opportunity to get someone else to pay for it. Instead of saying “no” to the demands at the negotiating table, entrepreneurs find paths forward by using the demand to their advantage.

Focused on objectives and flexible on strategy

The objective for Dyson was to sell vacuum cleaners. The strategy fluctuated. At first he licensed, then he did catalogue sales, then retail, etc. Imagine if he had been inflexible in his licensing strategy, who knows if he would have met his objective? Successful entrepreneurs do a great job at staying focused on the objective and being flexible on their strategy.

Not everyone is built to be an entrepreneur and to take the risks they take. But if you have the right attitude, view everything as an opportunity, and stay focused on your objectives, you could be just as successful at the negotiating table.


It Doesn't Have To Suck!

Negotiations don't have to suck. You don't have to feel out of control. You don't have to feel lost. You don't have to feel like you have to give everything away. There is a path forward to non-suckiness!

Scotwork can help you in your negotiations. Don't hesitate to reach out to us to get expert consulting advice or to put yourself on a path to being a better negotiator. Either way we can certainly turn your negotiation from a point of stress to an advantage. Talk to one of our experts today.


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