01 May Know When To Walk Away
Avoiding a Business Partnership Disaster Before It Happens
The most difficult decision you may have to make when negotiating a strategic partnership is when to walk away.
We are all looking for those great partnerships that will take our business to the next level. And when we have one in our grips the last thing we want to do is let it go. And yet, this may be one of the smartest things we can do.
A number of years ago I worked for a company that was responding to an RFP for a deal that had the potential to give our early stage product access to millions of users overnight. We worked diligently through the RFP process, made tough decisions regarding the resources that would be required to make the partnership work, and got creative in order to bring forth the most competitive proposal we could.
Our hard work paid off and we were selected as the RFP winner.Yet, days after selection, our soon to be partner requested that we go back to the drawing board on our pricing. They had decided that we could do better. We met as a team and assessed the situation. Here was a would-be partner that was already backtracking on our agreement. This did not bode well for our future relationship. And we felt very confident that our pricing was as competitive as made sense for our business. To go any lower could potentially do great harm. We agreed as a team that we would stand firm on the pricing we provided in the RFP. And we acknowledged that we could lose the partnership over this decision.
The partner, a significant player in its respective industry, was aghast that our small company would take such a firm stance. And they ultimately chose to go with the runner up to the RFP. It was the best decision we could have made, and one we are all proud of to this day. The partnership with the runner up proved to be a very difficult one and did not produce the promised number of customers.
Sometimes the bravest and smartest thing you can do is to trust your gut and not be tempted to put your business in a compromised position for the promise of something great.
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