Transformation is what startups do best – it’s why they exist. But while it’s one thing to become a challenger in a sector, it’s another thing to drive innovation forward and win advocates to support your business. One way that SMEs can grow and continue to disrupt is by securing partnerships that will prove beneficial to both parties.
The great news for ambitious leaders is that global brands and corporations are looking out for the next hot startups to partner with. Many are aware that to remain a market leader they need startups to help support their own innovation, to keep them ahead of competitors. The agile nature of vibrant start-up allows for flexibility to adjust and respond to changing trends, quickly.
That’s exactly how a game-changing collaborative deal between London tech start-up Spoon Guru and retail giant Tesco came about in 2017. A partnership that redefined the way consumers with specific dietary needs or health preferences discover food, with the AI-powered search engine – hailed as the “Google for food” offering complete transparency.
So how do you implement such a strategy in your own company?
1. Be a partner!
It can be intimidating approaching a major brand and while going down the SaaS route works for some, you should consider entering an agreement as an enterprise partner. Rather than working silently in the background, maintain your independence and get your brand out there while ensuring your ambitions don’t disrupt the partnership.
For a successful co-working agreement, find partners that benefit from your contribution and make sure the value exchange is balanced. A good partnership thrives on value exchange; you know what your business brings to the table and likewise your partner.
3. Work out what works
Make sure there is an agreed plan of action and a roadmap in regular intervals, ideally quarterly. Take the time to review what has been achieved and then agree on the scope of work for the next quarter. It’s also important to never lose sight of the north star. Think big and work towards a longer-term goal that can be accomplished if all stars align in the partnership.
4. Position and proposition
Through the use of case studies, thought leadership and white papers become synonymous with the solution your business is providing, and make it crystal clear. If you can demonstrate that your company has the most efficient and effective answer to a gnarly problem, you will always find partners who want you to take that problem off their hands.
5. Provide excellent service
Don’t get lazy! Securing a partnership is just the beginning, maintaining it and making it a success should be the neverending focus. The team put in place to manage the partnership should always go that extra mile to guarantee all issues are dealt with in a timely fashion. It’s also crucial to keep innovating and ensure that your partner is kept in the loop on emerging trends in the market. Then you are onto a winner.
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