Think You Have No Leverage Negotiating as a Startup? Think Again. By Michele Romanow


Think You Have No Leverage Negotiating as a Startup? Think Again.

Paraphrased thought leadership from Michele Romanow, CEO & Co-founder of Clearbanc on LaunchPod.

Ona recent episode of LaunchPod, Daniel Rodic asked Michele how little fish could negotiate with big fish, without any leverage. Michele was quick to offer this — “you always have leverage! It may feel like you are small and they are big, but, at the end of the day, you always have something to give”.

So, if you are headed into a negotiation and you find yourself thinking “I have no leverage”, here are some tips from Michele on how to change that mindset and build leverage in any negotiation.


The first thing to remember when negotiating is that credibility really matters. The second, people like to do deals with people that they like. So, no matter where you are in your career journey or business growth, always try to tell an amazing story, because people remember and amazing story.You can tell people 25 facts, but two days later, they’re only going to remember how you made them feel and the story that you told them


Break the ice and then ask someone else what their story is. Find those mutual connections and those points of likability. Try to genuinely care about someone else’s life — they will appreciate it.


Speed. Large corporations don’t have the ability to move fast, so use that to your advantage.

Case study: How Clearbanc used speed and scrappiness to beat out big players in a pitch to win a piece of Uber business

By Michele Romanow

In the early Clearbanc days, Uber was looking for a provider to build a new product around financing for Uber drivers. At this point, it was 6 of us working out of an apartment. We were pitching against the top two or three U.S. banks and of the Silicon Valley unicorns.

After we got off a call with Uber, we said “OK, well, let’s just build the product”. So, we bought the domain, we threw up a landing page and we built a two step process. The whole thing wasn’t fully baked, but we sent them an email 24 hours after our call and said “is this what you are looking for?” The other companies hadn’t even responded yet to schedule a follow up call. And we won the business by building 65% of the product they were looking for within 24 hours.

To hear more tips from serial entrepreneur Michele Romanow, tune into LaunchPod.