Riddle Me This

Negotiation Woes

I am about to go into negotiations with a major corporation for the worldwide retail rights to my product. The company wants to put my product in major retailers and certain specialty stores. Can you offer me any advice on getting what I want from the deal?
-Joseph Schulman, president, Mobility Solutions in Lakewood, New Jersey

Consider all your alternatives before settling on this one. And it's not just about talking to every other major corporation that might offer you a similar deal. Step back and ask the hard, big-picture questions. For example, are you sure you want a major corporation to do your selling and dis-tribution? Is there a better way to do all, or even part, of it yourself? What kind of business models have others used in similar situations?

If you do want to do business with this corporation, make sure to consider alternatives within the deal. Maybe it should be done in stages. Perhaps you should limit the rights you're licensing. Maybe you should include controls or an escape clause. I would suggest hiring a good transactional attorney; he or she will help you ask the right questions.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Riddle Me This.

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