Table of Contents:
- The Importance of Understanding Contracts
- Case Study: The Power of BOOST Support
- The Value of Expert Support in Contract Negotiations
- Key Takeaways
- About The Author, Kathy Wright
Most of us routinely agree to terms and conditions in our daily lives without even reading them. We tap “I AGREE” to update our phone’s software, sign up for gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and lawn care services, often without a second glance at the fine print. More importantly, we sign leases, mortgages, and purchase orders for new cars without reviewing the contract or seeking a consultant. Small business owners have more to worry about. They need to sign non-disclosure agreements, teaming agreements, and purchase/task orders, all invoking varying terms and conditions. And without a government contracts consultant, they could become lost in the weeds.
While the options for accepting terms with consumer goods and services are typically “take it or leave it”, terms for more significant matters are usually negotiable. You don’t need to be an Ivy League-trained, sports agent-level negotiator to secure a balanced agreement. However, you do need the patience to wait until you achieve that balance before you start working. More importantly, you need a reliable ally in your corner with contract negotiation experience, like a consultant for government contracts.
Case Study: The Power of BOOST Support
A talented small business owner (SBO) was hired by one of the industry giants to do cutting-edge IT work. The SBO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that fairly represented their understanding of the work and the crucial intellectual property rights. Encouraged by the MOU and the growing relationship with the project team, work commenced under an Authorization To Proceed (ATP), with assurances that the paperwork and funded order would soon follow.
After months of working without the ability to invoice, the SBO was finally offered a Letter Subcontract that needed to be signed quickly. Sensing something was off, the SBO asked a trusted BOOST Contracts Consultant to review the Letter Subcontract. The document heavily favored the industry giant, invoking standard terms and conditions in a lengthy agreement that directly conflicted with the MOU.
As negotiations with the industry giant dragged on, the SBO was asked to forego the Letter Subcontract and continue working at risk while the standard terms and conditions were negotiated. Eventually, the SBO was informed that the industry giant was conflicted about the MOU when compared to the standard terms and conditions and recommended ignoring the MOU and renegotiating the intellectual property terms.
Realizing he was being backed into a corner, the SBO worked with BOOST support to strategize an approach. The BOOST consultant for government contracts advised the SBO to stop working under the ATP until the terms and conditions were agreed upon.
The Value of Expert Support in Contract Negotiations.
The SBO politely notified the industry giant that his company would stop work on the project. Shortly thereafter, the first round of comments on the redlined terms and conditions was returned. In that version, over half of the nearly 100 redlines had been accepted by the industry giant. Two weeks and a few negotiation rounds later, the industry giant had conceded or compromised on 91% of the challenged terms. The SBO conceded the other 9% and went back to work with the deal he expected from the beginning.
Like the moral of the story from our childhood, the victory lies in our ability to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our situation and to leverage those strengths to overcome the weaknesses. It also helps to have a good consultant as an ally, like a BOOST support consultant for government contracts!
Small business owners often have to navigate complex contracts and agreements, which can be challenging without expert guidance.
While consumer goods and services contracts are typically non-negotiable, terms for more significant matters are usually negotiable.
Having a reliable ally with contract negotiation experience, such as a consultant for government contracts, can be a game-changer for small businesses.
The case study of a small business owner (SBO) illustrates the power of having expert support during contract negotiations.
The SBO was able to successfully negotiate terms with an industry giant, thanks to the strategic advice from a BOOST Contracts Consultant.
The victory lies in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of one’s situation and leveraging those strengths to overcome the weaknesses.
About The Author, Kathy Wright
Kathy Wright is a contracts and procurement professional with more than 30 years of experience working with government and commercial contracts. She has worked for both small and large businesses and has developed a contracts management style that blends agility with process improvement.