My Library and Courses
Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Be a Tough Negotiator

Vicky Carlson, owner of Office Pavillion, got what she wanted when she refused to  take "no" for an answer.

Key Question:


Learning begins when you decide you want and NEED to learn. And to learn something new as an adult, we have to have the attitude Vicky demonstrates. She said to ask questions and volunteer to take on a new task knowing that you will have to learn in order to succeed at that new task. Focusing on our rear-view mirrors won't work in this new digital world. There are big shifts going on. We're moving from paper to digital files, from work silos to interdependence, from being location driven to being information driven. This presents a perfect opportunity for learning. All of us are being tested to the max and forced to learn what we need to learn to win in business going forward. This is not the time to think that you know it all.

Vicky learned about the power of being certified as a Woman Owned Business so she did the work to achieve this designation. In January of 2005, Susan Scott of Fierce Inc said, "This is no small thing. The process to become certified took a year, involving filling out endless forms, answering multiple lists of questions about our structure, submitting thesis-like documents explaining who we are, why we are, what we are, and what the heck we really do. Just when we sent off a batch of forms, another batch would arrive."

Susan reports that her offices were physically inspected and she fully expected a doctor's physical to be required to verify that indeed she is a woman. The reason this process is so rigorous today is because the status of being woman-owned has been abused in the past. Any woman who achieves certification will find it to be a useful marketing tool.

Think about it

What problem could you solve if you decided to negotiate?

Clip from: Women Shatter Glass

USA: One out of three businesses in this country is owned by a woman.  That's  approximately 9 million businesses.  Yet only one out of ten of those businesses does more than $1 million in annual sales or about 900,000 businesses.

These two statistics prompted the production of this episode. We researched women who do millions in annual sales and found most were in male-dominated industries.

There are many resources to help women start and grow the right kind of business beginning with government agencies like the US SBA and their Small Business Development Centers. There are programs promoted by women-friendly banks, economic development offices, trade associations and industry groups, and women's associations in every state.

With so much help and information around, why do women so often migrate to tiny ideas? ...more inspiration? ... better role models? One of the women studied here asked rhetorically, "Why should I polish nails when I could be polishing steel?"

All business owners can learn valuable lessons from these women. They are the small minority who are making a huge difference in their industry and in their communities.  By moving to the top of the game where there are mostly men, a woman's influence can make the greatest difference.

Office Pavilion, Inc.

Vicky Carlson, CEO, President

6920 Carroll Road
San Diego, CA 92121

Visit our web site:

Office: 8587845200

Business Classification:
Office furnishings

Year Founded: 1980

Be a Tough Negotiator

VICKY: A year later when I felt I was ready to go so I called Herman Miller. I said, "You know Brian's moving to North Carolina."

They said, "No, we didn't really know that. We know his dealership's still for sale." "Yes," and I said, "well you know that it's really difficult to run a business from outside, you really need to be within your organization." They said, "Yeah, we do know that." And I said "Would you back me if I can get him to a reasonable price?" They said, "We're really not doing that any longer, but do you think you can get a reasonable price?" And I said, "Yeah, I really think I can." They said, "Well, put a proposal together and we'll talk to you."

Herman Miller lent me the money for my working capital and my initial Note to Brian, because the way we negotiated the deal is I paid him some money upfront and then I paid him the balance over a four-year period of time. So they lent me the upfront money and it was in a Note that I paid off over time.

HATTIE: How long did it take you to pay it off?

VICKY: Well the Note to Brian, the second half was a four-year term which we paid off in four years, and probably the whole Brian portion was probably like eight years.

HATTIE: Was that a little scary when you put your signature on the line, that now you're responsible for this debt?

VICKY: No. It really wasn't. You know it's so funny, people ask that question and it's just -- it goes back to that confidence. It's like I know I can do it and I know I will do it. And you know what, there will be things that I don't see now that I'll run into but I'll figure it out.

HATTIE: Where do you think that confidence comes from?

VICKY: Hattie, that's a really good question and when I think back to my childhood and my life, there's always been a confidence there and I really have to say that I have a strong faith and I know that there's a purpose for my life.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!