More and more startups are born every month, which creates incredible competition among young entrepreneurs in terms of brand exposure, investor support and customer grip. In this case, it is often a good option for a startup to partner with a large well-known company that would provide certain support and stability during the growth period. Recently, Aaron Michel, a co-founder and CEO of PathSource edtech startup, shared his company’s experience of cooperation with the GED Testing Service, which turned out to be a beneficial partnership for both sides. In his article for The Next Web, Aaron suggests considering teaming up with a large company and at once warns that it is not an easy deal, but totally worth trying. Here is a short five-step guide of how to succeed in partnering with corporates.
1. Define your partnership goals
There is no point in partnering with a company just for the fact of partnership. This will be just a waste of time for both. First of all, you should determine the result of such cooperation. Consider the weak points of your startup and think of the possible help that your potential partner could provide: you might face low distribution, or design is not good enough, or maybe you cannot access the target audience. As soon as you define the assistance you need for your startup, start searching for an appropriate corporate partner.
2. Find what you can offer
A perfect relationship is always associated with mutual benefits. That is why before reaching a company with your partnership offer find out why they would even like to respond to you. Ideally, your startup project must be a solution to one of the problems your potential partner might be experiencing at the moment. Yes, don’t be surprised: large companies often have problems, they often have to bring something new in order to adapt to the market changes. And you must be this “something new”.
3. Find a personal contact in a large company
Although simple pitching often works out, it is obviously much easier to succeed if you have personal connections with a large company. Scan your network of professional contacts and check if you have any mutual friends with the potential partner. If you get introduced, this will boost the target discussion for sure. Plus, such a reach scheme will look more transparent and let you trust each other from the very beginning.
4. Make sure you have the same goals
As soon as you start working with a new partner, you should both be transparent in terms of your expectations. For that, it’s also important to determine roles and responsibilities of both sides.
In the case of the partnership between PathSource and GED Testing Service, both companies have managed to achieve their goals: PathSource had resources and latest technologies that were highly demanded by GED Testing Service community. GED Testing Service was trying to create a certain platform connecting GED certificated users and employers while PathSource was eager to reach a big crowd and promote their brand by helping other people.
5. Be patient
The bigger the company is, the longer it takes to make an important decision, taking into account the number of people and management levels involved in the process. Of course, it’s difficult to wait. To make it less devastating, you can settle some terms and ways of communication that would be convenient for both sides.
In any case, the partnership with a large company is always a win for a startup. But to make it good, you will have to apply a lot of effort and time to building such a relationship.
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