Contracts - What's Your Methodology?

Part of our ongoing commitment to our philosophy of doing deals (The Value of Your Business is The Sum Total of Its Deals) is the methodology we employ to help each deal capture the potential "whole value." Part of the fun of doing deals (yeah, it really is fun) is that each new deal presents new challenges and new ways of capturing value. 

Below is a picture that shows an overview of our Whole Value Methodology (you can click the link to download a much more legible pdf). We are constantly refining our approach, because we just keep learning new things.
One of the greatest challenges facing new and small businesses (and many large and established businesses unfortunately) is developing a measured approach to doing deals. One of the best ways to implement a methodology like that outlined above is to work with an attorney to develop some standard contracts for some of your more common deals. You may not always be able to use your standard contract depending on the customer or vendor, but you will always be able to compare the terms to your standard and negotiate from a position of better understanding. 

Still, negotiation is only one piece of the methodology. In order to effectively use your standards, you need to ensure that you have followed all steps in the methodology. For instance, how will you know you've reached your intended destination if you never outlined where you wanted to the deal to end up?

Finally, just as we're refining our methodology on an ongoing basis based on what we've learned, be sure you're doing the same! If you find a better tool, better methodology, better contract, better anything... run with it!