All great deals can be done with a single sheet of paper. Being hired as the CEO of a hot new startup, buying a company, bringing on a partner, or a merger between companies from pre-revenue to multi billion dollar deals can be done on one sheet.

Here’s the secret (and all my attorney and advisor friends please forgive me)… You don’t need to hire an M&A advisor, an Investment Banker, or an Attorney to structure a deal. Let me repeat: you don’t need them. What you need is a simple set of well thought out, mutually agreed upon “business terms”. Who will be the CEO? Where will the HQ be? What products will you focus on? What is the vision?

A standard deal should be 8-10 KEY business terms and can be simple bullet point statements. Very complex deals may be closer to 12 points. Agree on the big terms. Get alignment and consensus between the two parties on the things that move the needle and matter to you and your stakeholders… Once you are in agreement and everyone is excited to get going, only then do you turn it over to the advisors. Tell them you have agreed in principal on the key business terms, that you want the deal to get done, that everyone is excited; you want them to help you get it closed.

The advisors are now working towards already agreed upon terms and less likely to create new challenges for the deal.

If you don’t agree on the big terms and can’t compromise, you just saved lots of time and money on fees. If you agree then you know all parties are driving to the same desired outcome.

Try your next deal with one sheet of paper. I bet you will be amazed.

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