It was 7am on that fine Saturday morning. I was still lazing about on the bed even though I had been awake since 5 am (a habit I have come to develop because of work). It had been a stressful week and all I wanted right now was to stay longer in bed and snooze some more. Hubby had travelled so I didn’t have to go through the stress of making “healthy” breakfast and the kids could make do with cereal, I thought to myself. I smiled as I saw the possibility of my plan working out. 

Just as I was about to get comfy a bit more in bed, Tochi, my youngest, barged into my room wearing a facial expression that made me feel my plan coming apart just before it was formed.

The young lad looked at me after the “good morning” pleasantries and said, “Mum, I want fried yam and carrot sauce for breakfast”. My heart sank as I thought of the work it entailed and how tired I felt but I wasn’t going to let my plan crumble without a fight and as though by default, my hardcore negotiation skills kicked in. “Buba”, I began with his nickname. “That would be a very amazing breakfast to have this morning but momma is super tired and would love to stay longer in bed” I continued. “How about you have some cereal and we have fried yam and sauce tomorrow?” I continued. 

Tochi’s mouth was beginning to open in protest when I chipped in, “If you allow momma some more time in bed, you can have an hour to watch Scooby Doo before you begin your chores. How about that?” Immediately, his eyes lit up and he nodded in agreement as he zapped out of my room. Now, I can say those times I spent watching Harvey Specter in the TV series, Suits, actually paid off.

I laughed as I thought about the power of negotiation and how it can work with just about anyone when it is used effectively, especially in business. In the business world today, where the market is hyper-connected and increasingly competitive, negotiation skills are more needed than it has ever been but sadly, this is one of the many areas in which African entrepreneurs are truly lacking. 

Lack of good negotiation skills results in huge losses. According to the “Africa Progress Report,” 2013, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Anan, says, poorly negotiated contracts are partly responsible for countries not benefiting from their mineral wealth and this extends to the business front. Hence, good negotiating skills is a must-have for every entrepreneur, for the following reasons:

  • Apart from closing deals, having a negotiation mindset can be beneficial for both the entrepreneurs and employees especially in the area of job responsibilities and salary to be paid.
  • It helps create win-win situations leaving all involved parties feeling like they just closed good deals.
  • Good negotiation skills breed respect especially between entrepreneur, employees and clients
  • It lays the foundation for good interpersonal relationship
  • It improves your brand and the image of your business
  • It improves the bottom line of your business
  • Good negotiation skills boost your confidence level as an entrepreneur

In my opinion, having good negotiation skills is a door opener to any business no matter who the opponent is. I feel so because using the wisdom in the words of Harvey Specter, “Don’t play the odds. Play the man”, you are definitely guaranteed more good deal closures.

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