About Me

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Mumbai, India
I run an IT Security consulting firm based out of India. We started off from scratch in 2001 when I was 21, and have offices in Mumbai, Bahrain, and UAE. The idea behind the blog is to share the stories of how we run the business, the deals we make, the deals that break, the heartburn, and the sheer joy.

The Ultimate Startup Guide

The Ultimate Startup Guide is an e-book that provides answers to all your questions related to starting and growing a business in India. Everything you wanted to know about entrepreneurship in India from ideation to registration to marketing to hiring. The book contains a large number of practical examples, anecdotes, interviews, and motivational material to help you get started, and to grow rapidly in a booming Indian economy. If you've got the idea, this book will help you through with the execution and realize your dreams. Here are some of the key questions you will find answered in this book:
  • When starting a business, what are the legal issues involved?
  • What form of incorporation is better suited to which type of business?
  • What tax issues are involved?
  • How do I start a business and what are the pitfalls?
  • How do I market my business in the absence of significant funding?
  • How do I get funded?
  • What are the basic accounting concepts I should be aware of?
  • What is a business plan and how should I build one?
The brief table of contents of the book is as follows:
  1. Getting started
  2. Ideation
  3. Forms of Enterprises
  4. Funding
  5. Basic Accounting and Taxation
  6. Import and Export Licensing
  7. Trademark and Patenting
  8. Rules for NRIs and Foreigners
  9. Building a Business Plan
  10. Marketing on a Shoestring
  11. Website and Branding
  12. Women Entrepreneurs
  13. Templates
To order the Ultimate Startup Guide - email me at kkmookhey@gmail.com.

Details of the book are:
Title: The Ultimate Startup Guide
Author: Kanwal Mookhey
Pages: 150
Additional: Companion CD contains numerous templates for building your business plan, calculating cashflow, preparing profit and loss, and balance sheets, preparing invoices, your resume and profile, marketing material, websites, contracts, and many other useful and motivational material.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Negotiation - I

At some level, I think all of life is nothing but a series of negotiations. In the straightforward sense, we negotiate to win new projects or for partnerships or with employees for salaries. At another level we negotiate the time we spend between work, family and ourselves. But this post is not about the philosophy of negotiation, rather about key pointers to a successful negotiation. I do not claim to be the best negotiator out there, but I constantly try to learn from every won or lost deal.
1. Ask. This is the most important one, and the one thing most people forget to do. They simply forget to ask the price they really, really want. It's really as simple as that. If you don't ask, you won't ever get. Also, you usually want to ask for more than you expect to be happy with. The other side of this is to also ask all sorts of questions to the other party. I never hestitate to ask a client questions like which other companies have quoted for the project, and where in the list does the client rank us, and how we are placed on the pricing scale, and what their budget and time constraints are, and almost anything else other than the actual competitors' proposals!
2. Gasp. For any price offered to you, gasp! Act as if you're really not happy with it, and in most cases you actually won't be happy with that price. So express that emotion, and tell the other side, that their offer is simply unacceptable.
3. Counter-offer. Never be at the negotiating table with only one thing to be discussed and finalized. Always go with multiple options, and multiple things to be negotiated. Usually, most negotiations end up being about money, but always try and keep many things on the table, such as payment terms, future business, referrals, etc.
4. Be ready to walk away. This is the toughest. And is usually almost impossible. But ideally, you always want to go into a negotiation ready to walk away from it. The other thing is that you shouldn't really walk want to away from the deal. The successful negotiation is one where both parties get what they want, without one side waking up the next morning and thinking, oh shoot, we got screwed. So, while you should be ready to walk away, your goal should always be to arrive at the best possible solution that works best for both sides.
5. Nibble. Often once a negotiation has been settled, it's always worth your while to try and nibble for that bit more. To ask for a minor concession every now and then. Not the best way to win respect, but it's worth your while to walk to the door, turn around, and say, hey I was just thinking, what if we also...
6. Smile. Sooner or later, any serious negotiation will get tense. The atmosphere will darken up, and people will begin to get grumpy and grouchy. The best means to break the tension is to smile. Especially, if you follow that up with a call for a break, that often helps to break the deadlock. Meeting the same people at the neighbourhood coffee shop often changes the eventual result of the discussions.
7. Be discreet. For me, this is the hardest part of any negotiation. By nature, I am a very upfront and straightforward guy. Although, this is usually a positive thing, during negotiations blurting out all your thoughts and facts is foolhardy, and I often stand guilty of doing that. Holding back on critical information is the key to getting through to a succesful negotiation.
8. Shut up! This is even more important than just being discreet. This I am usually good at. Often during negotiations, when there is no headway being made, both parties will clam up. At this stage, you should never ever break the silence. This should usually be done by the other party or a mediator. Usually, the one to speak first is probably going to end up making concessions.
9. Do your homework. Remember information is indeed power. Get onto paper all the facts that help push your side of the story. Get as much information as you can about the other side. This is usually tough, but it does help to know. Assume that the other person is indeed not giving you the full version of the story, but do not accuse him/her outright of lying.
10. Control your emotions. Do not get too emotional during a negotiation, unless that's a ploy you intend to use. Remember Vito Corleone's "It's business, not personal". However, I recollect once storming out of a negotiation, and forgetting my jacket in the process, and coming back to retrieve it 5 minutes later. During that time, the other side felt a bit sorry that they had upset us so much, and offered another few thousand dollars on their last price.

Resources:
1. Secrets to power negotiating, Roger Dawson. This is one of the best books on negotiating that I have read.
2. Bargaining for Advantage, G. Richard Shell.

7 comments:

demented coder said...

I can identify with #10 so I'll add #11: Do NOT be nice. I've come out second best in many a deal just because I started feeling sorry for the other guy and wanted to give him something. I justified it then by thinking, I need to do this to keep the relationship.

I've learnt the hard way that a negotiation doesn't mean that you be nice to the other person. Your goal in a negotiation is to protect your interests not to help the other guy. And if you want to keep the relationship you do it outside of a negotiation. Its not a popularity contest!

Intrepid said...

"Feeling sorry" is a definite no-no. But you need to ensure goodwill. In fact, I've been wanting to post on the topic of goodwill and will shortly do so. For instance, often negotiations get rough, but I've never hesitated to go back and apologize for any rough words that may have been said. The way I look at is that it's important to ensure the relationship is one of equals - we're not doing them a favor, and they're not doing us a favor. That way, at least one can avoid getting trodden all over.

I'd say the goal of a negotiation should be a win-win for all concerned parties - easier said than done - but that's where any negotiation should be headed. So while you don't need to be nice, it's also not required to be nasty either :)

Can't C Me said...

So what is your business web site and what type of consulting do you do?

Intrepid said...

Um...the idea is to keep this blog anonymous. :) We're essentially into information risk management - or popularly known as computer security consulting.

Anonymous said...

So did u really forget your jacket or was this an emotinal ploy you intended to use and see if that worked?( point # 10 )

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