Up to one third of small business owners and managers don’t see themselves as naturally strong negotiators, according to a survey of 1,000 small businesses by T-Mobile.Why? The survey identifies lack of time, a belief that negotiating won’t make any difference, and other business priorities getting in the way of negotiating as key reasons for this. In fact, for one in ten, the only time they’ll negotiate is when they run into cash flow problems. This isn’t good enough, says Alexander Ehmann, head of enterprise policy at the Institute of Directors: “In order to survive and grow their companies, business leaders need to keep control of their costs, which often involves negotiating with suppliers. If this isn’t an option, then it’s up to suppliers to offer the best deals possible to support small businesses, which form the backbone of the UK economy.” To be fair, the survey isn’t saying that entrepreneurs are just letting themselves be done for, either. 63 per cent of those surveyed have walked away from a supplier who has quoted an unreasonable first price, while over a quarter save up to £500 per year through negotiating with suppliers. “It’s understandable that business leaders find negotiations a drain on their time,” says Max Taylor, T-Mobile’s head of business marketing. “But it must be frustrating to miss out on the best deals available.” With one in three entrepreneurs feeling uncomfortable or stressed when negotiating with suppliers, we want your advice:
- What are the best negotiating techniques?
- How do you ensure you get the best deal?
- Have you ever walked away from a supplier?
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