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Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Making is About Relationships

Here we are at the end of 2020. What a year! Today, I’m offering up a solo-cast that leads back to the most basic truth about deals: deal-making is about relationships. As I share often, almost every business deal is either the start of a relationship, or the continuation of an existing relationship. There’s just no way around it, and it’s a key part of how I teach about the deal-making process.

Also, we just celebrated our 100th episode with guest Joe Apfelbaum! It was an incredible interview, and Joe shared awesome insights about his deal-making prowess and partnership experiences. 

Relationships are a Key Deal-Making Ingredient

Whether you’re in an acquisition or merger, or you’re creating deals with partners, vendors, or suppliers, relationships are a key element. You name the deal, there’s likely going to be a relationship being established, built, or leveraged. 

The journey towards a deal is usually paved by relationships as well. Your broker, your agent, your banker, your partner, your friend — these are the relationships that position us to know who we need to know, get people to the deal-making table, and start the deal-making process.

That’s what makes relationships such an important part of both business and deals, not to mention our day-to-day lives!

2020 Highlighted How Essential Relationships Are

In 2020, relationships played a key role in my life for even more reasons than usual. 

The support, guidance, connection, and opportunities that came from relationships during this hard, long year were key for me. Not just for growth, but for peace, strength, and stability. Now, more than ever, I know that connection with others fuels me, fuels my personal growth, and fuels my business.

I know that many of you have had to make major pivots this year, and I’ve seen again and again how relationships can truly pave the way to make those successful. Even as things have been hard, relationships with family, friends, and industry professionals often provided a key element that allowed us to turn things around, make the best of the options available to us, or otherwise find a way to navigate this year.

If you’ve been part of my relationship network this year as a client, a friend, a podcast listener or guest, a DealDen member, or otherwise: thank you. I truly appreciate you, and I hope to continue together with you into the new year!

Know, Like, Trust: Business Relationships Pave the Way for Deals

People want to do business with people they like. It’s just the truth! 

When it comes to deal-making, nothing much changes. When you’ve built that know, like, trust factor via real relationships, you’ll find opportunities seem to naturally appear. Why? Because when someone is thinking about who to offer a partnership to, who to strategize with, who to make a deal with, they feel best if they’re doing it with someone they know, like, and trust. 

Being in a relationship with someone builds confidence.

Worried that you’re not well positioned when it comes to relationships? Well, there is no magic pill that will develop them overnight! In fact, it can take a long time to build relationships. As the old Chinese proverb says, however:

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Another note: Just because deals are technically transactions doesn’t mean that your relationships should be described that way! People sense when you’re only interested in them because you want or need something. If you only set about to build relationships because you’re trying to get something, it won’t work the way you hope.

Instead, practice nurturing your current network. Add value. Seek to serve. Find a way to genuinely support someone else. Connect with people you’ve possibly just “not seen” in the past. If 2020 taught you anything, let it be that relationships matter and are always worth investing in.

Listen in to hear my full thoughts on the connection between deal-making and relationships!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast..

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal-Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating

The Power of Feeling Worthy

Renee Reese is The Worthiness Queen. She helps leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals heal their relationship with money and success and finally experience the power of feeling worthy of their next-level dreams. She’s also a transformational writer, speaker, and teacher and an innovator in the personal development industry. 

In addition to all that, Renee is an attorney, certified success coach,  NLP practitioner, T.I.M.E. techniques practitioner and hypnotherapist. She speaks and teaches all around the world, focusing on mindset and personal development. She is a dynamic, in-demand speaker and audiences love her for her practical application and takeaways, transparency, and relatability. You can listen in to our full conversation here.

Childhood Joint Ventures

Growing up, Renee always wanted to write. Now, writing is a huge part of her platform and work (she has a book coming out soon)! She also had aspirations of being an actress, which didn’t materialize. Her speaking and teaching does put her on stage and in front of crowds frequently, however, which she enjoys.

The first deal Renee remembers was negotiating a sleep-over at a friend’s house. Her early strategy was to wait till her mom was in a great mood, and to then have her friend do the big ask, since her parents were less likely to say no to someone else! We might consider her a master of the strategic alliance, or even a joint venture!

As an adult, Renee now works with leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. She got started as an attorney, but found herself burnt out and exhausted early in that career, despite financial success. Unfortunately, she was noticing that a lot of technically successful people were lacking confidence, passion, and positive relationships with their money too. In her heart she knew: there has to be another way, because this can’t be all that success is.

If you’re healthy, with friends you love and money in the bank, but you’re lacking a sense of worthiness….none of it will feel good. All too often, high-performers go from one thing to the next, hitting goals yet feeling empty. Renee helps people create alignment so they can experience success both internally and externally.

As an entrepreneur myself, I know how powerful alignment and personal money relationships are!

Owning Your Worth

I know that owning your own worth is a huge part of successful negotiations. When you’re dealing with fear, scarcity, and lack — it’s almost impossible to create strong negotiations you can confidently bring to the table.

Renee has noticed that when people are struggling with worthiness, they often struggle to come to the table with clarity on their non-negotiables. It’s not about being aggressive, it’s about matter-of-factly knowing what you need, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what you plan to take away from a deal. When you’re not coming from a place of worthiness, you tend to feel a strong sense of urgency around forcing deals to go through. Why?

Because your sense of success and worth are tied to the outcome of every deal. When you KNOW you’re coming from a place of worthiness, you don’t have to feel that your own reputation, worth, ability, or success are tied up in the deal. You are empowered to hold firm to your own non-negotiables, and you know you can walk away if the deal isn’t a good fit for you.

This is easier said than done! Owning your value and knowing our worth are powerful….but often they are concepts we only understand intellectually. Living it is a whole different ball game. Renee shares that owning your own value starts with your relationship with yourself.

You have to know your own desires, know your own strengths, and know the outcomes you want. Renee literally tells herself: “Self, you can tell me anything.”

She knows her boundaries, she knows what she craves, and she defines herself on her terms. Rather than trying to escape and avoid feeling bad feelings, awkwardness, loneliness, or scarcity, we often try to run (and force things to happen). Instead, you can actually allow yourself to sit with yourself, feel those hard things, and know that you can trust yourself to listen to yourself, be with yourself, and show up for yourself.

Trust Building With Ourselves

In a romantic relationship, you expect to build trust slowly. The relationship with ourselves is the same. We have to start slowly, communicate openly, and demonstrate acceptance and care.

One way of building self-trust is to keep the promises you make to you. If you said you were going to make your bed every day….ask for the promotion…write the book….you can build trust by actually showing up and doing those things. Pay attention to the ways you show up for yourself, and also take note of the ways that you don’t show up. Actually listen to yourself: what’s happening when you don’t show up? Why won’t you keep your word to you? Be willing to listen, learn, and make changes as needed.

When it comes to achievement and growth, Renee says we can build trust in our ability to experience success as well.

She recommends writing down three things you’ve already succeeded in, and three things you’d like to succeed in. Just like you’ve succeeded before, your mind starts to see your new list as things that are possible as well. Whether we believe it or not, we are constantly creating in our own lives. The best way to tap into that power is to be intentional about creating the vision we actually desire.

We all carry subconscious beliefs about topics like money, achievement, power, and success. Everything in our world starts with belief.

Self-Belief and Deal-Making

If you walk into a negotiation with the belief that the other person at the table is better and smarter, or that they deserve more, of course you’ll be dissatisfied with the deal you make. You’ll sell yourself short, and make compromises.

When you believe in yourself as someone who is intelligent, deserving, and successful, you’ll show up at the table differently. 

I teach that being crystal clear on your objectives and outcomes is an essential part of deal making. What Renee is saying here is so true: if you come to the table with a lot of internal blocks and haven’t done core level work, it does impact your negotiating.

Self-worth also impacts the deals you’re willing to attempt to make. If you can’t get by your fundamental self-worth struggles, you deeply limit the rest of your life.

Building the Life You Deserve

Renee’s work centers on helping people overcome these internal struggles and limitations so they can truly experience alignment and success.

One of her favorite clients was experiencing some level of success, but also dealing with massive amounts of doubt and fear. People on the outside wouldn’t have known, based on how she showed up, but she was unhappy.

From her business structure to the way she was showing up….she knew she wasn’t owning her work or her worth. When Renee started working with her, she was going through a dry spell, which was a repeating pattern in her life.

She would hit new income goals, then go into a complete slump and have no money again. It was the feast or famine cycle, which many entrepreneurs are familiar with!

Renee used strategies and tools from her NLP training that helped the client go straight to the root of her money beliefs. Internalized beliefs about being secondary, not deserving, and less than had impacted this client since childhood, and when she understood what they were based on she was able to blast through them and experience transformation.

Clearing past beliefs opened up so many new doors for her, and it all started with the root. Renee’s clients find that clearing these blocks changes their lives and their businesses.

Externalization + Personal Value

I noted that our society sends us so many messages about what we need to have and how we need to look in order to be valuable or worthy. That deeply impacts our confidence and self-worth, which bleeds over into our businesses and deals.

Renee agreed, sharing that consumerism is a huge driving force for many of us. It fuels a more, More, MORE mentality that makes it impossible to understand the abundance that is available to us in the present moment. And the reality is….there is never going to be enough in the external world.

There will always be something new, something different, something bigger and better that tells us we aren’t enough. We cannot understand our own personal value and worthiness when we are constantly looking at external measurements for validation. 

When we are building our relationship with ourselves and our own self-trust, we have to be able to detach from external messaging and gain clarity about our own values and desires. That’s the only way to maintain an internal sense of value and confidence, regardless of external circumstances.

Another way of coming at this is to clarify our WHY. If we are pushing ourselves to achieve because we are measuring ourselves against what we “should” be doing, it’s not going to work. Growing for growth’s sake to fuel vanity isn’t going to serve you in the long run. Get real with yourself about what you truly desire, and why it matters to you. Those are the goals that matter – that’s what you need to pursue.

To hear more about Renee’s take on negotiations and worth, listen to the full episode here!

 

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast

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If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal-Ready Assessment today!

 

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

A Deal-Maker’s Paradigm Shift

Jeff Dennis is the trusted advisor to the CEOs of fast growth companies, where he provides strategic and financial advice. He is a lawyer, serial entrepreneur, best selling author, and public speaker.His book, Lessons from the Edge, is a collection of stories by 50 entrepreneurs who share their biggest mistakes in business and the lessons that they have learned. He’s a sought after public speaker for audiences across the world. Here, he shares about the deal-maker’s paradigm shift that has helped him grow throughout his career.

Creative Problem Solving as an Entrepreneur in Residence

Jeff shares that, early on, he expected to take over the family business. After circumstances changed, however, he had to reinvent himself. This reinvention is what ultimately brought Jeff into the entrepreneurial space. 

Now, Jeff is an “Entrepreneur in Residence” with Fasken Law, one of Canada’s largest law firms. He helps them answer the question: How does a big law firm do business with these new tech companies?

These startups often have vast legal needs, but often few resources early in. Although some of them turn out to be unicorns that achieve wild success, many don’t. It’s clear, however, that they have legal needs. Part of Jeff’s role is to enable Fasken Law to meet those needs creatively. He considers himself to be part intreprenuer, as he’s building a small business inside of an institution. He’s part business advisor, as he does quite a bit of coaching and consulting within his work. And he’s part lawyer too, as a licensed legal professional! His journey certainly has been a “typical” lawyer’s journey, but he’s enjoyed his alternate career path.

Some of Jeff’s creative ability comes from a unique deal he crafted early in his professional life. It involved his family’s restaurant business, a massive theater complex raining debris on their patio, and a revenue guarantee that enabled them to sell at a profit. (Curious about the details? Listen HERE to get the whole story!)

Discovering a Deal-Maker’s Paradigm Shift

Prior to Fasken Law, Jeff went through multiple iterations of business. First, he thought of himself as a real estate guy. He was registered with the Ontario Securities Commission as a limited market dealer, and was syndicating real estate.

And then the market crashed. It seemed like everything Jeff was involved with was connected to real estate, and suddenly that was nothing but bad news. Rather than throw in the towel, Jeff set to work reenvisioning himself.

His realization? He was a deal-maker. This paradigm shift allowed him to see that real estate had been a commodity that he was making deals around. Rather than fixate on the commodity (real estate), his world opened up when he realized he could create deals in any sector, with any commodity.

Jeff has since done deals in mining, cosmetics, insurance, stocks & bonds, TV productions, franchises, and more.

If you’d like to hear more about Jeff’s thoughts on the “pound of flesh” required to take investor money in these types of deals, listen to the full episode here!

Always Growing

As he branched into deals, Jeff also worked hard to network and grow professionally. He joined EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) and worked his way from local leadership to the international board. He wrote Lessons From the Edge, which became a bestseller and launched his speaking career. And he’s since traveled the world, speaking globally.

By using his deal-making skills as a springboard, Jeff has advanced personally and professionally throughout his career.

As he was writing and speaking, he also transitioned into angel investing. During this stage, he worked with early stage companies on commercialization and capital raising. Later, this experience would assist Jeff as he began crafting fixed-fee deals aligned with startup values and needs.

Creating Services & Products That Work

When Jeff talked about how a big law firm tends to deal with tech companies, the only word that came to my mind was “poorly”. Ultimately, law firms expected to operate with large hourly fees. And startups and entrepreneurs that were building tech companies couldn’t afford that.

There was an entire underserved market that was having to forgo legal representation, or deal with minimal legal counsel because it was out of range of their budgets. Jeff brought his deal-making experience to bear. Working within Fasken Law, he developed a concept for a fixed fee model that he knew would attract tech companies.

This creative solution required a great deal of negotiation. As a traditional law firm, they had to let go of “how it was always done” in order to try something innovative and new. From incorporating the company to creating shareholder agreements, creating employee contracts, and building employee stock option plans; Fasken Law became startup friendly.

Jeff shares that hundreds of companies from every sector came through these programs. Because they were structured as fixed-fee offerings that could be customized as needed, they were highly attractive to the startup market.

Ultimately, the deal-maker’s paradigm shift Jeff encountered early in his career has shaped his professional life ever since. There is power in making deals!

Listen to the full episode here!

 

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

 

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Ready Foundations: The Power of Team Building

In our last solo-cast, I talked about a few things related to creating a scalable business that you work ON, not IN. Although those concepts might not connect to all deals, the more you can do to create a business that doesn’t depend entirely on you, the more you’re setting yourself up for powerful deals. From new collaborations, joint ventures, or even preparing your exit plan: you can employ a variety of strategies to make your business deal-ready. One powerful area to consider is team building.

Team Building Expectations

Most businesses have some sort of team. Whether the team is all on sight or is working remotely, successful businesses that intend to scale are going to have to consider team building at some point. Often, we start to run into default ways of thinking here. We have expectations about oversight, presence, and even micromanaging that seep into our team building decisions. 

Our ego also starts to pipe in. We may have a tendency towards being controlling, or choosing not to trust our employees. When that occurs, we often use the excuse that “they” just don’t care about the company as much as we do!

On one hand, you’re right. When you own a company, you’re going to be invested in a way that an employee just will not be. And why should you expect them to have the same drive and commitment for your business as you? After all, it’s YOURS!

On the other hand, there are ways to build a team that is passionate, motivated, and connected to your business. A few ways to create that sort of team? Being flexible, building trust, and empowering every team member to contribute in the way the best taps into their skills. After all, isn’t that why you brought them on in the first place?

When you make deals, you show up at the negotiating table with the understanding that both parties are bringing something of value. Approach your team in the same way. This isn’t just an exchange of your money and their time. They have the ability to make a powerful difference in your business, but only if you allow them to do so.

My Own Team Building Experience

I have a dedicated, loyal team that I’m proud to work with. I’ve offered all of them flexible options that work for their lives and families.

You can find phenomenal employees who work hard and love what they do — and they might ALSO prefer flexible work schedules that give them opportunities to prioritize their families, hobbies, or other needs. That’s not a reflection on their ability to perform within your company. In fact, it only enhances it.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes amazing talents will bypass higher salaries from larger companies in order to work for a smaller company that offers them openness and flexibility. It’s simply not true that remote workers are less capable or talented, or that the “best” employees are working 9-5+ from a desk inside your building.

Another benefit? Diversity! Hiring remotely significantly increases the talent pool you’re able to hire from. Even if your local talent pool feels relatively homogenous, you don’t have to be limited to that. When you offer flexibility and remote options, the pool is global. You may find that your business can attract great employees, teammates, and leaders who bring powerful new ideas into your business when you open yourself up to their presence.

My flexibility and openness has enabled me to find excellent candidates and bring them into my business time after time. By being less rigid, I’ve been able to offer positions to excellent candidates that I would have otherwise had to pass by (or not even be aware of).

Another tip? Be aware of how your team is motivated. Some people want to be praised, especially in front of others. Some want to be challenged, and always have something new. Everyone wants to be trusted and empowered to do their best work in their own way.

Tap into your individual employee’s needs so you can focus on your highest and best use areas. As you do so, you’ll find yourself with the capacity to look for and close new deals of all kinds.

By building an entrepreneurial culture that values all team members, you may find yourself positioned for deals you might have never expected. 

Delegating Up

Sometimes you give a task to an employee, and they end up circling back to you. They have questions, or they’re looking for you to finish something off.

And although I want to be a resource to my team, I also want to discourage “delegating up”, in which they use me as a crutch. Sometimes team members don’t want to take responsibility for a decision (so they bring it back to you). Or they lack confidence or trust in themselves, so they’re looking for validation.

One trick I use: when I have employees ask me to look something over for them, I’ll ask them, “Do you really need me to do that?”. If they actually do, then I’ll look it over. Oftentimes, however, when they reflect they realize they don’t need me. I trust them to do their jobs, and it’s my intention to remove myself and have faith in them to do their work independently while being a resource to them when they really need me.

And honestly…

When you hire a team, you should be hiring people who are talented in areas that you are not. They are the content creators, site developers, ad creators, or admin professionals that you’ve brought in for a specific purpose. Trust them to do it. Let them know that they have the power and autonomy to complete the work assigned to them. If you give the ability to do this, you may find that they are even better at it than you!

Don’t be afraid of being “surpassed” by a talented employee who is really good at their role. Offer training opportunities. Help people become their absolute best, not only for your business, but for their own growth as people. Will that mean they leave your organization one day? Maybe! But wouldn’t you rather have a phenomenal team member who one day leaves for bigger and better things, than a mediocre team member who sticks around because they aren’t passionate about growing and improving?

Team Building Requires Trust Building

In deals, trust is essential. You have to be able to trust yourself, your partners, and the clarity of your objectives when putting together a deal.

Your team requires trust as well.

There is no way to truly scale and grow if you cannot trust and empower people. Your team members need your trust to do their best work. And you need to give your trust to be able to take things to the next level.

Encouraging creativity and building an empowered team is vital for successful positioning. If you’re hoping for organic growth, improved marketing, new joint ventures, scaling, or preparing for an eventual exit: you’ll benefit from creating a team you can trust!

In the trade off of a deal, it has to work for BOTH parties. If one side feels that they’re not getting their fair share, they won’t engage.

Team building is the same. Trust, respect, training, empowerment, autonomy, flexibility – these are all aspects of the employee deal-making process. When you bring a valuable package to the table that includes so much more than just a paycheck, you can build a team that truly takes your business to the next level.

When you do that, you increase your firm’s capacity to do deals, build enterprise value and better position the company to monetize that enterprise value upon exit.

In the future, I plan to talk more about how internal succession is an incredible deal option that only makes sense if you’ve built a team that can run your company without you. The foundation? Team building!

Listen to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!