Getting big deals done is almost always the key success factor that allows companies to achieve breakout growth.
What kind of deals?
- Securing big new clients
- Joint ventures/strategic partnerships
- Raising capital
- Mergers & acquisitions
Sadly, most smaller company executives and business owners are lousy dealmakers…as evidenced by the undeniable fact that their companies remain small!
For starters (and paradoxically), they are lousy dealmakers because so many of them possess those best qualities of Main Street America – prudence, thriftiness, deliberateness, and consistency.
Admirable qualities all, but these qualities are also representative of and correlated to risk aversion, which is anathema to great deal making.
Building on this, many small businesses are conducted with blood relatives, or built on long standing work relationships that approximate family dynamics.
There is, of course, much beauty and power in family businesses, but within them, complexity is also often introduced.
Complexity of decision-making processes and of motives, which then “complicates” what is already a very complex process – i.e. navigating and driving across the finish line multi-faceted, risk and uncertainty-filled business deals.
Additionally, a byproduct of risk aversion and complexity can be the loss of the intense proactive energy needed to originate and close deals.
Proactive energy is distinguished from the more reactive type that most small business people have in admirable stores – the stamina for the day-to-day grind of customer and employee maintenance and support, for e-mail response, even for the prosaic challenge of just getting out of bed and to work everyday…
While again admirable disciplines, reactive energy is usually not conducive to the kind of creative, imaginative, and “make things happen” vision and mindset that deal-making requires.
So to improve our dealmaking, we can ask ourselves these three simple questions:
1. What is our attitude toward risk?
This is a question that takes time and space to answer honestly. My experience is that over time, most small business owners become far more risk averse. They increasingly struggle to differentiate between real risks and consequences, and those perceived, and – dare I say – feared as the consequences of what the failure (or in some cases the success!) of a big deal would mean for them and their companies.
Quite simply, this question asks us to “catch ourselves” and to generally be more optimistic and opportunity-focused than perhaps our “default” “woe-is-me” mindset might have become.
2. How complex has our company’s decision-making become?
And how much has that complexity eroded leadership’s leeway and budgetary authority to think and act freely?
These questions ask us to confront stakeholder motives – are decisions and commitments being made on a “what is best for the company” basis versus what might serve or threaten a particular individual or stakeholder?
3. Do we have the necessary proactive energy to drive big deals home?
Do we have the force of will and intensity of focus to attend to those myriad details and obstacles – big and small – that must be attended to and overcome to get a big deal done?
Can we just “block out” the piles of minutiae and cycles of reactive response to focus upon and drive the truly important stuff?
Above all else, great deal making requires a champion – a dynamic leader who does not accept business as usual and energetically cut through complexities and bureaucracies on all sides to get deals defined, progressed, and signed on the lines that are dotted!
Grappling with the above questions forces us to be honest, both with ourselves and about what the cultural touchstones, good and bad, of our organizations stand now.
And from this honesty can come the kind of breakthrough perspective through which we see, attract, consummate, and profit from deals that before were obscure and seemingly unattainable.
Let’s get some big deals done! Today!
Want Some Big Deals for Your Company?
Tired of business as usual at your company?
Want a burst of ideas, capital, and action to propel your company forward?
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