Throughout the life of a business negotiation is a key skill for the founders and strategists working on it. Often, however, having no business experience, founders fall into traps put by the people they negotiate with (VCs, partners, etc.)
I'm wondering if you've had any bad experiences due to lack of negotiation skills and if you can somehow formulate those into tips or advise. What should we be aware of before starting negotiations? What types of information should we share and what should we keep secret? How do we protect our leverage? What do we do when people act illegally or immorally against us?
Please try to avoid talking about people skills (how to know what the other party thinks and what people they are like), and concentrate specifically on the negotiation part.
Negotiating is an art that is learned through experience. One of my mentors was however very generous and shared with me a framework to help structure the negotiation process to a certain degree to make them more efficient and search for the elusive win-win situation.
Essentially there are 5 components that I use whenever I begin a negotiation process:
I wrote about this topic in some detail last year. 5 Steps to Better Negotiations.
There are a lot of questions within your question that has given me some ideas for future blog posts. Will let you know when I update my blog with them.
My biggest single piece of advice: You have to be able to comfortably walk away from the deal. If not, they have you. Ultimately you'll give in to anything because the deal is your best choice. If so, you can (at least ask for) anything because even if it sours the deal you're OK with that.
For further reading, http://venturehacks.com is my favorite blog / reference for term sheet tips and hacks.
I would say these are my best tips for negotiations - some suited better for smaller gatherings - one-to-one;
PS Feel free to improve my grammar/answer. :) DS
"Everything is Negotiable" by Gavin Kennedy is a good place to start: