As a startup it can sometimes feel like a very lonely world. Being brave enough, therefore, to try and develop partnerships with already established brands is a very strong and positive move. Not only will achieving this gain you the respect of other established organisations but it will also immediately expand your customer base.
Other added benefits of partnering up with an established brand, especially in the very early stages of starting up your company, is that it will also assign credibility to your organisation and increase your exposure to the business world and marketplace. You can apply the insight you get from this increased exposure into your own company and products, which will ensure you have a competitive advantage over other startups in the marketplace.
However, all of the above is all well and good but how do you actually achieve such a partnership? It is not easy by any means but perseverance is key. Here are a few more tips to help you along the way:
1. Timing is everything
Before you approach any organisation you really need to do your research into them. There is no point approaching an organisation offering a partnership opportunity if they have just announced partnership with another young startup.
It’s much more valuable if you keep an eye out for when the company is looking to diversify, or perhaps open up a new department. You need to be able to tap into this research and use it to prove what you’re offering is worth them taking. If your email or presence in their reception comes at the perfect time, then you’re all set.
2. Give them a solution
As a new company, you will have done the research needed to understand if your product or service fulfils a need. Does it provide a solution to a problem? It should! This is what you need to sell to the brand you want to partner up with. You need to show the other company just how your product or service can provide them or their customers with just what is required. Give them solutions and they will love your startup!
3. Prove that you understand your market
No established brand will risk partnering up with a startup which is not 100% clear on its own market; its own niche. You need to be able to prove that you know your niche inside out and in this way can bring many benefits into the equation.
4. Prove that your company is a safe investment
You will never successfully partner up with an established brand if you cannot prove that your environment is safe and secure. The last thing any company wants is to be associated with a data leak or hack so you must be able to prove to the companies you want to partner with, that you are data-ready and can be trusted.
With cyber breaches estimated to cost companies as much as $400 billion each year (Lloyd’s, insurance broker), it is little wonder that this topic is so important. Make sure you assign cyber security the attention it deserves and be prepared to give up some ownership to your established partner, who is likely to be much more versed in cyber security than you.
5. No lies!
There is just no point in lying on your CV when you’re trying to establish a new partnership. Elaboration is always part of a job interview process but if you can’t do the actual job, you end up getting fired – the same will be true if you mislead your partners. Think about what the consequences of a lie or two might be…and then don’t do it!
Don’t let your eagerness to secure the partnership get in the way of staying true to your brand and your capabilities. Be honest and never promise you can do something that you either can’t do, or can’t realistically deliver. It’s just not worth losing your company and your reputation for!
6. Don’t waste the partnership opportunity!
Once you have found the ideal partner you need to make sure you make the most of all the insights, as well as the funding opportunities that are presented to you. An established brand will have a whole host of different revenue streams that you can take advantage of, so be sure to capitalise on this but be careful and respectful as you approach these kinds of discussions.