3 key considerations for partnering with a big company

3 key considerations for partnering with a big company.

For start-ups and small businesses, the opportunity to partner with a large company can seem like an easy path to success. Your enterprise brings an innovative solution to a more established company and in turn benefits from their more robust capital and distribution. It can be a smart – and exciting – move for a start-up, but there are some potential roadblocks to be aware of and plan for now.

Here are three things to consider when deciding whether or not to partner with a big company:

1. What’s your vision? Make sure it’s clear and compelling.

For start-ups and small businesses, it can be difficult to convince a large company to enter into a partnership. After all, it's the smaller company that generally has more to gain in the relationship. It's not enough to have a complementary product or to serve a similar market; you have to lay out a compelling long-term vision for how the partnership will serve both sides' strategic goals.

2. Create a sense of urgency.

Large organizations typically have two speeds: slow and slower. If you sit back and let the other side drive the process, chances are nothing will get done. Even worse, constantly pestering your contacts on the other side to move forward is annoying at best and potentially damaging at worst. So how do you get your partners to take action? One way to get things moving is to create a genuine sense of urgency around the opportunity. Just remember to be sensitive to your partner's organization and culture, and find ways to focus on what matters to them.

3. Don't undervalue your contribution.

Finally, it's all too easy to undervalue your company's own contribution to the partnership. It can be tempting to give too much away when negotiating the economics or workload of the deal. Remember, if you're having partnership discussions, it's happening because the other side sees value in what you do. Outlining reasonable expectations and maintaining the value of your contribution not only ensures that the partnership is equitable, it also signals to the other side that the relationship is something that they should be excited about. Projecting an aura of confidence and value goes a long way in helping to guide the relationship down the right path.

Throughout the process, be confident in the value you and your business offer. The more confident and genuine you come across, the more likely you are to foster a strong long-term relationship. Also, be sure to structure the partnership in a way that’s mutually beneficial and doesn't bog you down. Although applying these tips won't guarantee a successful partnership, it will certainly help ensure you're moving in the right direction.

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