It’s critical when putting plans together that there be an element of protection. We want to make sure that everybody gets what’s fair and right for their skills and efforts. This often comes down to negotiation and negotiation early in the process. When engaging in any transaction (especially a business transaction), we need to make sure that we’re looking forward to what might happen and we need to make sure that we’re going to get what’s we deserve.
There’s a famous case out there that was portrayed in the movie The Social Network. The movie talks about the early owners of the company Facebook and how certain transactions happen related to the ownership. Mark Zuckerberg and the executive team of Facebook did certain things to grow the company but, as part of their growth processes, they diluted, or made smaller, the ownership interests of several owners. One of those diluted included early investor Eduardo Saverin. In the movie The Social Network, it portrays a scene where Eduardo Saverin aggressively engages with Mark Zuckerberg over his loss of ownership interest and Mark Zuckerberg tells Eduardo Saverin, “You didn’t negotiate to protect yourself.”
The lesson here is clear. When we are putting our unique skills, talents, and efforts into a business, we need to make sure we protect ourselves. After all, if we don’t protect ourselves, who will? Our time, talents and special skills are too important to give away. We need to make sure that we’re actually moving forward. We need to make sure that we’re doing the correct things. It is key that we negotiate for ourselves and make sure that the business transaction is looking out for us.
What can we do to make sure that we get what’s right? Certainly, we don’t want to give up our unique skills, talents, and efforts for a promised payment in the future that is unsecured. We want to make sure that if we’re going to invest our time and unique skills and knowledge that we’re being fairly compensated. Are we getting something in return that is fair for what we’re putting in? Are we making sure that we are looked out for? We need to understand what our value to others entails-what we actually bring to the table.
I’ve unfortunately worked with numerous business partners that have spent years in transactions, only to learn that their partnership gets into a fight or disagreement or separation where a lot of the value is destroyed. It’s very frustrating for those partners when they see that their years of skills and efforts have been lost. What are you doing to protect yourself? How are you making sure you get what’s fair and right from your transactions?
One of the biggest keys is to look ahead and plan for possible twists and turns before they happen!\
This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity.
About the Author
- Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com) , gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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