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Ask Yourself This

Pose some creative questions before the deal, and you may find a new way to clinch it.

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Even though the business world thrives on vigorous innovation, entrepreneurs often overlook the creative side of deal-making. How unfortunate! Creative thinking can pay the deal-maker big dividends, both when you're first entertaining a deal, and later, when you're actually negotiating it.

Initially, creativity will help with the most critical consideration of all: making sure you're in the right deal. Before you get too involved, you must discover and consider all your alternatives. Start by asking yourself the ultimate big-picture question: "Why am I doing this deal?" Once you really nail down the things you want, better ways to get them will often jump out at you. Brainstorm with these two magic words: "How else?"

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