Before jumping in head-first into chasing corporate contracts there are a few things that a startup must know. Being aware of these points can help a startup prepare for the world of startup-corporate partnerships.
Here are 5 key points that startups need to know:
1. THINGS TAKE TIME
The corporate world is built on processes and procedures. Different departments will deal with different aspects and will all need to be included in the process – and when they’re all done you have the legal team to deal with.
It’s important not to be disheartened or put off if things seem to moving at a snail’s pace – but do make sure to keep following up so you’re not lost in the process somewhere.
2. IT’S EASIER WHEN THEY TRUST YOU
Big companies come with big reputations that shy away from risk. Working with startups is inherently risky, not just for the company but for the individual that recommends you who may feel their job is on the line.
Metrics make things a lot easier as people can see proven results on paper. Sometimes it’s worth signing pilot deals at a reduced price to get some secure figures – it might even be worth signing with a smaller company to prove your concept. Better yet, look for a company that openly loves working with startups and taking risks.
3. DON’T LET RAPID SCALE CATCH YOU OFF GUARD
Working with large companies can put more strain on your resources than you might expect. Make sure you’re prepared so you don’t buckle under the weight.
Shipping startup AfterShip gave us a good insight into steps they had to take to keep up with demand: “When we started to see traction in 2013, we decided to rewrite the code, redesign the system and launch tracking APIs so that we could handle at least 100x the usage.”
4. YOU’RE SELLING TO A PERSON NOT A COMPANY
It’s an overused, modern-day sales cliché but it’s still important to remember when approaching potential corporate clients. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big name and ignore the fact it’s a person who makes the decision.
5. GET TO THE DECISION MAKER
This is one of the most important points of all. So much time is spent talking to the wrong people about your product. Ask how the decision making process works in their company and who else involved. This will get your startup in front of the right people in the right departments.
It’s a good way of finding out the steps you need to take to close the deal and who sits at the end of the chain so you have time ahead to fully prepare for each stage.
Image credit: Fried Dough