September 16, 2010

In bed with a bear

Some of our clients find it very pleasing at first when we introduce them a prospective partner, whose business volume is considerably higher than theirs. A company that they have always seen as a giant is now thinking of being a partner in their company.

As time time passes the negotiations start and with the increase of the number of meetings held with this prospective partner, some of our clients start to develop different feelings concerning this prospective partnership. I am specifically using the word ‘feelings’ because generally at that stage we don’t encounter any business related problems. However, the great size and the extent of the potential partner becomes an issue in our client’s mind and blocks his way of normal behaviour.

To ease this situation we use the available data and explain to our client the probable scenarios of a future business life with this potential partner. Sometimes it’s hard to bring this over. When we talk about the tasks that our client needs to execute after the partnership, the reaction we sometimes get is similar to that of a child looking at you with empty eyes as you explain new and unexpected situations he will go through. For example, up to now they have not submitted reports on their business to third parties. Since they will have a corporate partner, they need to get used to preparing detailed budgets and monthly reports.

Generally, the time utilized for negotiation discussions and the benefits of such a partner will be sufficient to eliminate the anxiety of our client over the size of the potential partner. However, the fear and unease continue in few cases. This is when I usually recall the words of one of my former partners:  “If you are afraid of bears, then why are you going to bed with a bear”.

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