MDH 80 | Business Growth Models

MDH 80 | Business Growth Models


Most people dreamt of turning your passion into a very profitable business. After all, what is better than having fun while making money? In this episode, Victoria Wieck teases out a chapter from her upcoming book, Million Dollar Passion, called Optimize to Maximize. One way to make a profitable business is by learning how to maximize your business idea, using your time efficiently, so you’re working the least number of hours and, at the same time, making the most amount of profits. Victoria spills the four business models you can employ to achieve explosive, sustainable growth! You don’t want to miss out on this conversation!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here


Optimize To Maximize: The Four Business Models For Explosive And Sustainable Growth

We’re in the middle of a series. If you’ve been tuning into the last few episodes, we were talking about how you turn your passion and purpose into a profitable business and build yourself a nice little empire that you can sustain. In this episode, we’re going to talk about optimizing your business idea. In my book called Million Dollar Passion that’s coming up, there’s a chapter called Optimize to Maximize. It is about maximizing your business idea in terms of how you use your time efficiently so that you’re working the least number of hours and making the most amount of profits.

Four Business Models For Explosive, Sustainable Growth

Let’s get right down to the various ways you can achieve your desired profits and experience explosive growth that’s sustainable. I love the word sustainable in this phrase because it’s important that you achieve fast and explosive but controllable growth. It’s the growth that you can control. If you’re growing out of control, there is a phenomenon called The Growing Broke as opposed to going broke.

When I was at HSN, I saw many entrepreneurs, and I’m talking probably a couple of hundred people, that achieved beyond their dreams. They were doing somewhere between $2 million to $10 million a year and they grew broke. I’ll do an episode on how people grow broke, but right now, let’s focus on growing controlled growth.

These are just the basics. A lot of you may have some portions of this already in your business or some idea of how you achieve the various different business models. I’m going to get right down to business here. There are four major business models. People use different terminologies for this, but there are four different ways you can achieve explosive but sustainable growth.

Number one is business-to-consumer. You are selling mostly to individual consumers. If you’re a hairdresser and you’re cutting hair and your clients are mostly women in your neighborhood coming to get their haircut, that would be considered business-to-consumer. A restaurant, for example, would be a business-to-consumer.

Business-to-business, if you’re a manufacturer and you’re selling to retailers, that would be considered business-to-business. You’re a manufacturer only to wholesalers or somebody who goes to one business. Maybe you don’t even manufacture the stuff yourself, but you have expertise in exporting and you understand the laws of different countries, freight rates, custom duties, and all that stuff.

You are helping a bunch of business people pick their products overseas. It could be to Europe, Asia, South America or wherever. That would be considered business-to-business. If you’re a hairdresser and want to create your own shampoo line and you want to sell it to a department store, that would be considered business-to-business.

There’s a combination business where you can sell business-to-consumer or a portion of it. The hairdresser was an example. She’s selling her haircutting services to consumers, but also selling her shampoo products to other hairdressers, a department store, on TV or whatever. That could be business-to-business.

The fourth model is becoming an affiliate for someone or having affiliates under your umbrella. That is a new phenomenon that happened. It has always been around, but it exploded in the 1990s with the dot-com bubble. That’s one of the things that came out of that and stayed with us, and it’s benefiting a lot of businesses.

Business-to-business is tougher in the beginning, but you can grow faster.

Understand Who Your Ideal Target Market Is

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of doing business with each business model. Before I even get there, I want to explain to you the most important thing before you even talk about any business model you have. It is to understand who your ideal target market is. Who’s going to use your products? What does that person want? How do they shop? What do they shop for? What time of the year do they shop? What time of the day do they shop? Where do they congregate in very large numbers?

For example, you are selling fitness classes. You’re running a business as a yoga studio and you find out that they want a Zen-type of environment. They also want somebody who’s on time. They don’t want to pay more than $15 per class. They don’t want to have any more than twenty people per class. There are all these requirements people want to have ideally.

You understand that and then you want to come up with yoga clothing, for example. You understand who they are, what they want to pay for, and how often they use yoga products. Let’s say you find that in your neighborhood, a lot of them live in a certain area of town. That gives you a lot of information to work with. Understand who your target market is.


For my jewelry business, I have combinations of several of these businesses. Number one, I do business-to-consumer. In my one-of-a-kind business, we do concierge service for somebody who wants above and beyond. She wants something very unique for herself and she’s willing to pay a lot of money for this. It’s something highly unusual.

I have that business on the site. If you go there, you’ll see what we’re talking about there. Our average price point there is about $10,000. We don’t do volumes of them, but we do enough business where that’s very profitable. The average price of $10,000 means some things are $5,000 and some things are $50,000.

Business-to-consumer is the easiest because you just have to convince a few people. If you’re a hairdresser, you got to convince ten people and do ten people’s hair. They then talk to ten other people or they go to the golf club or a restaurant and they say, “You got such a cute hairdo. Where did you get that haircut?” It’s very easy. That’s how most people start their businesses.

In business-to-consumer, you know a few people who need your services or you think you can sell enough to sustain yourself with a few people without having to go through a lot of expense. The drawback is you grow very slowly because you run out of people. The example that I gave of the first ten people who then tell ten more people, and then they all tell ten more people, even if you do all that, it’s slow growth. You’re not growing at 20%, 30% or 40% per month. You might grow a little bit, but you’re not going to build an empire in that model.

Having said that, I know people who have built their empires this way. That’s a different type of business. They’re very internet savvy. Maybe you came up with a tote bag for photographers and found a bunch of photographers that needed a tote bag that organizes. It’s lightweight and keeps their professional camera equipment very safe so they can check it into the airline, that kind of stuff. You can easily find photographers at conferences, associations, where they congregate or even on the internet. You can go and market to them. I know people who have done that as well.

For most people, the growth is very slow. Even in that example of a photographer, you have to learn how to do the internet. You got to come up with great sales funnels. You have to understand how many times you can touch them. There’s a whole other art to talking to consumers because when you’re doing business-to-consumer, more than the need, you’re talking about emotional connection. You need to connect with each person emotionally because they need to fall in love with you, trust you, and understand that they’re getting something special. That’s tough.

MDH 80 | Business Growth Models

Business Growth Models: When you’re doing business-to-consumer, you need to connect with each person emotionally because they need to fall in love with you, trust you, and understand that they’re getting something special.



Business-to-business is tougher in the beginning, but you can grow faster. In the example of the shampoo and a hairdresser cutting hair, I don’t know what haircuts cost in your area, but where I live in California, they go anywhere from $80 to $300 to $400 a haircut. In the best-case scenario, let’s say you’re charging $200 a haircut. Since you’re cutting your hair yourself, you might be able to do 8 to 10 people a day. It still limits you to how much money you can make. You got to pay rent, the shampoo person, and all that stuff.

Most people don’t do ten customers a day, seven days a week. Let’s say you’re averaging 5 or 6 a day and you’re charging $100, and you’re working 5 to 6 days a week, Tuesday through Sunday or Monday through Saturday. You’re paying rent and doing all that stuff. You can make a profit, but you can’t grow that fast. If you are coming up with your own unique shampoo product and it sells well, and you are selling to beauty salons, you might sell 1,000 or 10,000 bottles at a time. If you’re on TV, you might sell 30,000 bottles at a time.

When you do that, you can grow very fast, even if you’re making a lot less money. Let’s say you’re making $4 a bottle of shampoo and you’re selling 10,000 of them. That’s $40,000. That’s a lot of money. You can grow very fast by attracting businesses so that they can make money. Businesses don’t care what you sell. If you give them a plan where they can make more money with your products and other people that they’re carrying, they’ll try you out.

That’s tougher to attract in the beginning, but you can get economies of scale, meaning you can also buy your ingredients. If you want to buy a single shampoo bottle, you can go to Ulta or a bottle supplier. They’ll sell you a plastic bottle for $2, $3 or $4 a bottle. If you’re doing 30,000 bottles at a time, you get them for $0.25 a bottle. That’s how economies of scale work. If you can buy things at a cheaper price, you can grow up faster.

A Manufacturer To Wholesalers

You can do a combination of both. I gave you the example of the hairdresser. I do jewelry, so I do one of a kind. Sometimes I’ll make it easier to manufacture by the thousands of them. When I sell to TV stations, our runs are usually somewhere between $1,000 to 10,000 pieces. I’ve occasionally had pieces that were sold over a million pieces of that same item. In my one-of-a-kind business, because I’m looking for a truly one-of-a-kind unique stone, I don’t get to buy them in large quantities because of the nature of that business. We can charge the most amount of money for that one item that nobody can have except you.

If you do the business model where blue Topaz-Amethyst is very plentiful, I can get 5,000 to 10,000 pieces at a time. Even if you only make $10 a piece, that’s a lot of money to make. You can do a combination of both, but not with the exact same product. That’s important because, let’s say, you sell to somebody for $10 a bottle, so they sell it for $25 a bottle, but then you sell it to your consumer at $18 a bottle. You’re undercutting yourself. Most of your customers aren’t going to like it.

If they know that you’re going directly to the consumers for anything less than what they’re selling it for at any time, they won’t carry you. They want to see that they were selling it lower than what you were selling to your consumer. When you are selling on your website for $25, make sure that the business people that you’re selling to can meet their margins.

Let’s say they want to double the money, in most cases, they want to make more than double the money. They want to get a 70% margin. For $18, you would have to give it to them for $6.50 or $7 max. You can see how the margins are a lot smaller, but if your actual cost is $5, it’s still making sense to do at least both or do the business-to-business model.

Let’s back up a little bit. If you’re going to do business-to-business, it’s tough. A lot of times you’re going to end up with sales reps that specialize in that part of the business because you’re running your business. You’re manufacturing and doing all this stuff. You’re making sure that people show up to work and things are shipped out on time.

The affiliate model is so easy to do that it would be a shame if you don’t incorporate some portion of that in your business.

You can’t be traveling all the time looking for businesses. Typically speaking, you hire somebody who has expertise. A lot of times, these are executives that used to work at Nordstrom or VP of some division at a huge major store that’s networking with other department stores that they’re now consulting. You can hire them for a percentage of the cut.

Business-to-business is tougher because of the added layer of personnel and the type of personnel that you have to attract to get that business. With the combination of the two, the challenge is that most of your business partners or business customers like Nordstrom’s or a TV station want to see if you carry it elsewhere. They want to be the cheapest because right now, consumers can Google all day long.

In jewelry, it’s very easy to do because even though it’s the same brand name, styles can be very different. I can design a completely separate collection of jewelry for Saks that I don’t do for Neiman’s. Many of you don’t have that option. If you have shampoo, you can’t say, “I’m selling my shampoo with a purple bottle here and a yellow bottle somewhere else.” That becomes a little challenging. In some cases, depending on how big that retail customer is, they may limit who else you sell to. It becomes a little tougher game. I’ll get into that a little bit more when we talk about scaling our businesses.

Becoming An Affiliate

With affiliates, I would say you could do a combination of all three. You could get an affiliate or a bunch of affiliates to you. An example I’m going to give you is if you’re selling some weight loss program, cryotherapy, or you have your own way of losing weight. You’re also recommending that they do some exercise but you’re not a fitness instructor and you don’t want to open a fitness store. You don’t want to be responsible for that because there’s a whole liability that comes with that.

Let’s say you own a cryotherapy/weight-loss center and you see four blocks down the street, there is a bunch of yoga or Pilates places, or there could be cardio or a gym. You could easily recommend them and you could even sell them as a package and get a cut from that studio. The studio also might do it the other way around where they can sell a package and give you a cut.

If you are selling facials or laser treatments, which are exploding. A lot of people want to take care of themselves and their bodies. Out here in California, that’s a huge thing. I have a friend who does this. She’s an aesthetician. She’s not a nurse or anything. A lot of these medical spas need a doctor. She would rent a space inside a doctor’s office. What she found out was that a lot of times, a plastic surgeon or somebody who does gastro surgery will package in a bunch of lasers/facials and smoothing type of treatment. They then get a cut. These are all what they call affiliates.

You can easily recommend it. If you’re a hairdresser, you end up recommending a bunch of hair products that you don’t sell. You don’t have to inventory them, buy them and take a risk, but you could give them a company recommendation. You might even have some of the samples at your place where they can then order it and you get a cut from that. The model is so easy to do that it would be a shame if you don’t incorporate some portion of that in your business. There are very few drawbacks to the affiliate model.

Here’s the other thing, a lot of times you get customers that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Let’s say you’re doing cryotherapy and you get somebody from fitness centers. You’ll get a bunch of people who would have never gotten before because until they got to you, they thought all they got to do is exercise, but now they’re doing all of the above. That’s a source of a new customer for you and them. That’s a true win-win situation where the end-user wins because she’ll get the results that she needs by incorporating weight loss and exercise. You win a little and get extra money, and then they get all the extra money that they wouldn’t have gotten.


Think about what business model you want to have. The thing that I want to talk about a little bit is to give it a lot of thought. If you do business-to-consumer and you want to incorporate the business-to-business what’s going to happen is that you’ll be able to buy even all the things that you are buying and buy it cheaper because people see the potential that they can do a lot more business with you.

MDH 80 | Business Growth Models

Business Growth Models: Businesses don’t care what you sell. If you give them a plan where they can make more money with your products and other people that they’re carrying, they’ll try you out.


That’s a huge benefit but at the same time, it does come with little strings. You have added expense of hiring somebody who’s an expert in that area. The standards are higher when you’re doing business-to-business. If you’re a jewelry designer like I was, when I went to HSN standards, I had to deal with QA departments that were horrendously difficult to deal with. I understand why they did that because if you’re doing business one-on-one and I’m making a piece of jewelry that falls apart, I made a mistake on the one piece. If you do 10,000 pieces and you made a mistake, the mistake is repeated 10,000 times so the cost is high.

All the standards and expenses go up high, but it’s something that you might want to consider when you have a certain base of customers. I wanted to expose you a little bit to all the different business models. If any of you have any questions about this, go ahead and write to me. It’s or you can sign up for any of my classes on my website.

I go through all this pretty extensively because I’ve had personal experience with all four of the models. I started as a business-to-consumer then I went to business-to-consumer/business-to-business. I then went to business-to-consumer, plus business-to-business, plus the affiliates. I’m still in all of the above. It’s worked out pretty well.

Sign up for any of my classes on my website, which is You’ll see a monthly webinar there. It’s all free, or you can visit It’s all about turning your passion into profits, sustaining it, and working fewer hours as a result of working more efficiently and effectively. Thank you so much for reading.

If you haven’t already, please go ahead and leave me a review. If you can give me a five-star review, that would be great. Please share this episode with at least one person that you know could benefit from this because that’s how we multiply our voice and how we can serve our community better. Until the next episode, please have a great safe and happy week. Remember, happiness is a choice. I hope you make great choices. Thank you.


Important Links

MDH 79 | Art Of Negotiation

MDH 79 | Art Of Negotiation


Negotiating deals is crucial in being an entrepreneur. You must analyze and evaluate what you want and how you’ll offer that to a client so you can close a deal. Set your goals and expectations because you have to figure out the specific things your company needs. Join your host Victoria Wieck in this episode as she dives deep into the dos and don’ts in negotiating. She shares how you can optimize strategies and talk with people most effectively to achieve the process and meet your goals. Learn how to maximize value creation in your agreements and watch your clients grow!


Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Mastering The Art Of Negotiation For Business Growth

I’m excited to share with you this episode’s lesson. It’s about negotiating mastery. Mastering how to negotiate or negotiating skills is the most underestimated skill of all skills for business owners, especially for small business owners like ourselves. If you’re a huge business, usually, you have a legal department or have access to lawyers who specialize in your expertise.

If you’re a small business owner, you don’t even know how to go and find a lawyer who understands your business. Most of the time, your business has got a special niche. There are some amazing things about your business that differentiates your business from all the big corporations. This is a skill that is a must-have for everyone who is in business or who thinks about going into business.

First of all, there was a myth that when you start negotiating, you need to hire a lawyer to negotiate because you are not qualified to negotiate or you think that your lawyer is going to do a better job. I have to tell you from my personal experience, that’s one of the worst things you could do because most lawyers are not trained as business people. They go to law school. They understand the legal lease, courtrooms, and law books, but they don’t understand your business.

Half of the time, you are calling your lawyer to try and explain what your business is all about and what you’re trying to negotiate from the other side. They don’t know anything about the other side, so then they do all this homework and bill you on an hourly basis. Before they even get to the other side, you’re looking at a $5,000 or $10,000 bill. Sometimes they want you to sign a retainer of $5,000 or $10,000 a month before they even start talking to you at all.

Even when you pay $5,000 or $10,000 a month, if they get you the deal you want or a position of strength so that all you got to do is run your business, that’s a different story. Half the time, they don’t do that. They come back with a lukewarm version of what you wanted or a few things from the list that you wanted, and the other side gets away with the rest of it because most lawyers go with a road to least resistance. That’s my personal experience.

Most lawyers are not trained as businesspeople. They understand legalities, courtrooms, law books, but they don’t understand your business.

Do’s And Don’ts About Negotiating

Having said that, let’s think about all the dos and don’ts of negotiating. I’m very passionate about this because I’ve had to negotiate some of the biggest contracts in my industry. It’s a jewelry specialty within the retail industry. I’ve negotiated deals in Japan, England, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and in the US. I have to negotiate the biggest contracts in my life anyway at HSN and then now at ShopHQ. I’ve done business with places like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. In every single one of them, you need to learn how to negotiate. There were all different. Each company looks for specific things and this is what we’re going to talk about here.

Here are some of the dos, and we’re going to get into the don’ts as well. The dos are to start treating the person on the other side as your business partner. I know it goes contrary to what you think. First of all, let’s think about what are we negotiating. For example, if you own a physical store, you have to negotiate rents with your landlord and hotel rooms for your employees when you’re doing a lot of traveling.

Maybe you have airline tickets. If you’ve got even five employees traveling on a quarterly basis, you can negotiate with an airline. I don’t know if you knew that or not. You are negotiating your employees’ compensation. If you’re an employer, it’s the same thing. You are negotiating with the employee, all the suppliers, customers, and outside consultants. All these require some negotiation.

Win-Win Situation

We talk about the win-win, but I want to talk about the win-win-win situation. There are three wins. There are usually three parties involved. They’re not just two parties. Let’s go to some of the examples. For example, you’re an employee and you want to get paid pretty high. This is typical in a retail or wholesale type of business, a manufacturer, for example. You might want to pay them a salary plus some bonus or commission above a certain amount if we tell that their business that they’re doing.

Let’s say that you say, “I want to get paid $150,000 base salary, plus all the travel, all the expenses, hotel room, my meals, everything paid, and 10% from everything I generate above $1 million.” That sounds good for the employee, especially if you can bring in $10 million or $20 million worth of business them. You’re making $200,000 over or above your $150,000 base salary, plus all your expense is paid. That sounds good for it. The problem is this is an expense to the employer when they bake that into the price. Instead of somebody who was getting paid $150,000, you got somebody who could make $250,000. That’s coming out of their pocket.

MDH 79 | Art Of Negotiation

Art Of Negotiation: You need to learn how to negotiate. Each company is different and looks for very specific things.


Ultimately, they’re going to price that into their price. I’m going to get something concrete. Let’s say I have a necklace. You’re trying to sell 50,000 pieces of it to a department store or TV station. Your cost is $50. You want to sell it to the station for $75 to cover your rent and employees. You have more than just that employee. You’ve got a secretary, a receptionist, and warehousing people. You got to pay for all of their health insurance and everything else. Let’s say, a 25% margin for that. You also have defects and all the other stuff that comes back. You want to get that.

When you do that, let’s say, this is what you want. If you’ve got an employee who would demand $150,000 plus the 10%, 10% of $75 is already $7.50. Your margin gets shrunk by quite a bit. Since you need the $25 margin to pay for everyone else in your company, you’re going to bump that price up to at least $85. Even if the customer buys it from you, the actual retail price on that instead of going at $150 is going to go at $185 or something like that. It has to sell at the store for a much higher price.

I wonder about it for a long way, but at some point, you need to make it so that your end user, the consumer, wins because they always know where to get the best buy. They always know where they can count on high-quality products at the lowest prices. They determine in the end where they shop. Let’s say you’re dealing with a department store A. This department store, even if somebody is friends with you and they say, “That sounds pretty reasonable.” If a lot of end-users don’t end up buying it from department store A, you’re going to be stuck with all this data inventory as a direct result of this one example.

Since they’re going to get fired until they get a bit of this merchandise, they either put it on extreme sale, or they call you, the manufacturer, and say, “I need some help. I need you to take this back because I can’t buy anything else. I’m overbought. My boss won’t give me any more money to buy anything until I clear this inventory out.” At the least, they will not buy from you again because they got burned. Treat the other party as your partner. You need to make sure that whatever you sell them, you do it at whatever you can to make sure that that stuff sells once they buy it. That’s your responsibility. It is their responsibility, but it is your responsibility, too.


The second thing here is you got to do homework always. I can’t stress this enough. If you’ve read this whole series, you read this in every episode. You understand what the other side needs and wants from you in the end, what they will and won’t negotiate. If you’re dealing with public companies like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, and TV stations, they usually have these earnings calls. Call up their investment department and get their perspectives. If you want to buy one single share of stock, you should look at their perspective. They will tell you what their goals are, where they excel, what their challenges are, and what they expect.

Start negotiating and start treating the person on the other side as your business partner

Let’s say you’re selling candles and dealing with a TV station. They say, “Our goal is to increase our soft home.” Candles would be considered a soft home. They are not like vacuum cleaners or computers that would be called a hard home. Linens and candles go into all those softer areas of your home. Let’s say you look at them and they say, “We see a huge opportunity in a soft home.” TV stations don’t do candles too well because they can’t smell and all kinds of reasons for it. Let’s say you see that in the perspective, saying, “There’s telling other investors that we’re going to focus on a soft home,” which is where this falls in.

When you start to negotiate with them, you understand that you have something they want and are actively looking for. You’ve got a much better position than if you’re looking at the prospectus and they say, “We try soft home last week and that’s where we took a huge margin hint. It’s tough, but we’re going to trim down the soft home area, specifically things that we can’t smell like candles, fragrances, or whatever.”

You’re not in a position of strength at that point. Do your homework because we all have a limited amount of time. Your customers have a limited amount of time. Why try to swim uphill? Why try to go to a place where they just took a huge hit on margins and they’re trying to clear out what they already have? You want to go to places where they’re looking for your type of product. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is they also will tell you who they want. If you listen to QVC and HSN, their earnings call every quarter. That’s all public information. You can type in Google, “Earnings Call,” every quarter. Quarter, meaning they follow the calendar year or so. Usually, the earnings call for the first quarter is sometime in April or May because they got to finish by March 31st. They do all their books and then they have called in front of their stockholders and Wall Street.

New Customers

The second quarter ends on June 30th and their earnings call is about mid-July or early August, and it goes on. Everything is recorded and published. They are legal statements. They will tell you the truth, what they did well and don’t do well with. They constantly talk about getting new customers. New customers are a huge thing for all Wall Street types of environments. They want to get new customers specifically. They want to get younger customers because Millennials have a much longer span to buy from you once they become your customer and there are more of them.

MDH 79 | Art Of Negotiation

Art Of Negotiation: Treat the other party as your partner. You need to make sure that whatever you sell them, you do it at whatever you can to make sure the stuff actually sells once they buy it.


Millennials are the number one buying block. When they tell you what they want, for example, where customers are Millenials. If you’re selling candles and you say, “We’ve tested all the scents. Millennials like things that are natural and fresh. We focused on that,” they listen. The buyers are trained to listen. Do your homework. They will tell you everything you need to know before you ever set your foot in the door.

These are the things that your lawyer won’t do. They don’t know. It’s not their job to know. It’s your job to know the law. It’s not their job to do market research on the type of products that you’re doing. Going back to my original conversation about hiring lawyers, there is room for lawyers to come in once you finish your negotiating. They can put it into the legal lease. That’s when you use a law.

What’s important is at the end of the whole thing, you do need to get away from this meeting what you need out of it as a small business to survive, grow, and make a profit. You need a list of things that are non-negotiable for you. For example, what’s non-negotiable for me would be to go and do a ton of business with somebody only to lose money or have the potential to lose money. That’s not good.

Make a list of things that you are not willing to negotiate because you have to understand what they are. You don’t want to go, “Let me go and see. I’m going to fill it out.” You can fill out a lot of other things, but you need to have some non-negotiables. One of those things for me was when I was negotiating my contract initially when I first went to HSN. I’m going to say this because it was the most recent big contract I’ve had to negotiate. By the time I got to the second network, the framework for what I wanted from a TV network was already done.

With HSN, both they and I had to chart new waters because they had never done a contract like mine before. There’s a whole long story as to why that is. Most of the people that I negotiated with are not there anymore because that was many years ago and the contract kept renewing. What I was proud of with them was that we negotiated with the idea that we were partners. They were interested in making sure that I succeeded in their network.

You need to have non-negotiables when negotiating your contract.

I was very interested in making sure that they succeeded as a network, even if that involves them bringing in my competitors and launching new brands that are similar to mine. I wanted to make sure that they could pay their bills, and continue to grow. The bigger the umbrella, the more people can succeed. When it comes to things like return rate, actual pricing, and delivery dates, I was willing to negotiate all of those, but what I wasn’t willing to negotiate was how much time they get to have from me.

I was a brand new mom of two children. It was within a few months after I had the second baby, plus I had my parents who still didn’t speak English and I needed to be with them. I had my grandmother who was in her late ‘90s. I’m the firstborn and I had a lot of responsibilities. I started my business to spend more time with my family. My first instinct was, “You get to have me eight times a year because that required me to get on a plane and travel.” It worked out fine, but many of you might want to have a lot more time, but I didn’t want that in the beginning. It evolved later on to a different thing.

Make sure that you understand what your non-negotiables are. The return rate is the same thing. You don’t want an open-ended return rate. You want them to succeed and be able to return some things to you, especially if it’s defective and whatnot. What you don’t want to do is say, “If it doesn’t sell, you can return everything.” What happens is then the buyer buys everything because there was no cost for them to make a bad decision. if you give them a reasonable amount of return rate, something doesn’t sell, you’re giving them a little bit of a safety net, but they then also have to work hard to make sure that that merchandise gets cleaned out pretty quickly so that you can keep buying them.


Every decision is a partnership type of thing. Figure out what’s non-negotiable for you. Also, figure out what is non-negotiable for them. A lot of times, if you’re working with TV stations, they don’t want to negotiate air times with you. They don’t want to say Victoria, Brandon, or anybody can come in and have primetime hours because that’s all they have.

The most precious asset they have is primetime air time. They don’t want to negotiate that with you. That’s a non-negotiable for most networks. I’m not going to say all because I haven’t done business with all 40 networks around the world. In my experience with the ones that I’ve dealt with, the major ones don’t want to say, “You get to have 9:00 to 11:00 primetime once a month.” They don’t want to do that because they do 80% of their business at primetime.

MDH 79 | Art Of Negotiation

Art Of Negotiation: When you start to negotiate with them, understand that you have something they actually want and something that they are actively looking for.


Understand what they don’t want to negotiate with and work with it. If you do all this homework and come to the table with what you are willing to give, not willing to give, understanding before you even walk in the door what they are not going to negotiate with, you may use it to negotiate other things, but understand that’s not something they’re going to have a negotiate with.

I’ve done business with department stores, Macy’s, Saks, and Neiman’s. They all have different requirements, margin requirements, and return rates. Can you imagine if you hired a lawyer to find out what those are? It would be incredibly costly for you to do it. These are simple things you can find out by doing some research.  Talk to other people. Network with other people. Listen to their earnings calls. Call up the buyer before you get into a room with them negotiating. Homework is important.

What’s important for you to understand more than anything is what the end user, your final customer, the customer that buys your product wants from their buying experience. For candles, for example, if the going rate out there for 8-ounce candles is $15 and yours is special, if you want to charge $25 or $30, it’s fine. If you want to charge $300, understand that you got some big obstacles.

I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m saying that if you’re going to go out that way, make sure that you understand what the end user wants because if they don’t buy it, they are not as passionate about spending $300 on an 8-ounce candle. It’s going to all come back to you. I’m using extreme examples. It’s going to end up with a lot of problems for your partner, the business you’re trying to sell to, and for you as well because their problems become your problems. They have usually 30 to 60 days to pay you, and they can play all kinds of games. You should read those contracts and the purchase orders before you get into that realm.

I hope this was helpful to you. I covered a lot of ground here. I would suggest that you go back and reread this again. Please make sure you share this episode with at least one friend. That’s how we can grow my audience and also how we grow as a community. Please review this episode if you have a little bit of time, that’s how we get judged by the podcasting industry. Thank you so much for reading. Please have a safe and happy week. I hope you make great choices. Remember, happiness is a choice. Thank you until next time.


Important Links