David and Goliath – Or the successful art of negotiation!
Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath - if not the actual details about who each of the two protagonists of the most famous disparity in history was, or why they faced each other at all, then surely the result. Little David beats the seemingly invincible giant Goliath. Over the years, the story has inspired many negotiators to "get started". It's also important for startups, be they digital health startups or diagnostic startups, to learn how to act confidently in negotiations, even when you're the smaller company, David, and you're facing a bigger LifeScience company.
The following lessons can be learned from David in his fight against Goliath and can also be applied to his own "fights".
First, and foremost, he had control over himself. He did not allow himself to be influenced by the fears or opinions of others and even refused heavy armour offered to him because he knew it would stop and slow him down. The armor was actually a metaphor for other people's fear, and he didn't want to be burdened by it. Startups should believe in themselves and their ideas and not let themselves be thrown off track.
Second, he understood his own strengths and weaknesses, but took a step back and instead thought about his opponent's position. Where was Goliath weak, where was he strong? With this knowledge, he could begin to understand how he could change the balance of power in his favor. For startups it is important to understand that you don't have the solution to all the problems and weaknesses, but in the negotiations you should focus on being opposite and understand where are its weaknesses that you can solve.
Third, he chose an appropriate tactic to defeat Goliath, based on what he had learned from his own observations, which maximized his own strengths and minimized those of Goliath. He did not fall into the trap of equating Goliath's apparent size gradient to such an extent that he was more powerful than David. Here, startups should not be intimidated by their counterparts, even if an established company sits in front of them, but should seek the appropriate tactics to convince.
Fourth, everything about him on the day of the fight radiated confidence. He had a plan, he had confidence in it, and he executed the plan according to his strategy. If you've made it this far to sit at the negotiating table, then you should have confidence in your ability to end the negotiations.
Finally, and most importantly, he took the first step. If there ever was an example of the power to put forward one's position in a negotiation first, then that was it! He knew what advantage he would gain by going first. Startups should be aware that they are also in a position of power and can dare something.
As a startup in the LifeScience industry you should not give in to being beaten too quickly and try to learn from single steps. And if you are in a position where you are facing a seemingly stronger diagnostic company, you should think of David and the individual steps that led to his victory.