What startup teams need to do to land corporate engagement
Corporate engagement has become a trend in the world of business, as both corporates and startups, in their quest for value adding follow different lands.
Both business ventures are different and operated differently while occupying different positions on the food chain, yet it is important they interact with each other if they want to succeed effortlessly.
Most corporates are in need of innovative ideas and prototypes that solve major problems, while the startups need the machinery of the corporates like their finances, marketing prowess and so on.
There will always come the day when corporates will need startups and vice versa.
Many corporates are currently searching for innovative startups that is why corporates invest in corporate startup engagement.
Collaborating with corporates increases the chance of the startups growing, and a lot of startups know that.
A research done by Startup Bootcamp showed that about 70% of startups believe that engaging with corporates will ensure their easy rise to success.
If the startup doesn't prepare for it, it may never grab the right corporate engagement or may fall into a parasitic relationship that will do the startup more harm than good.
The CEO of a startup has a lot of job responsibilities and getting the right corporates to engage with is important to the growth of his company.
Attend Hackathons/ Accelerator Programs
You may have innovative ideas and prototypes but no one or corporate may know of it if you keep bottled up.
Some startups may think their skills and innovation can push them to success solely, to an extent, they are right.
There is more to succeeding in the business world to having innovative ideas.
You need finances to work on the idea.
The idea may be out of this world and may have many applications to the real world, but when there are no finances to pursue it or develop it further to a workable form, it remains solely an idea.
There is no saying another startup cannot come up with the same idea, engage with corporates and make it a success.
You need marketing machinery to ensure your potential consumers know of your innovative products or services.
What if you finally got the prototype working and have the products sitting in your store, how do you get potential clients that need the products or services to know of your existence?
A lot of benefits accrue to engaging with a corporate.
This is why attending Hackathons for a startup is important.
Many big corporations organize Hackathons yearly, bringing both corporates and startups under the same roof to interact.
There, corporates are looking for startups they can work with. Hackathons usually involve the startups trying to find solutions to a problem stated by the organizers of the Hackathons.
Many startups have shot to success from there.
Attending conferences as a startup is a perfect way to get corporates to engage with you.
At the conference, bear in mind that you are going there to pitch your business ideas, solutions and prototypes to the corporates' executives walking the room.
Accelerator programs are another way of getting corporate engagement.
Many companies like Microsoft run accelerator programs regularly.
Microsoft Accelerator program has produced a lot of alumni that grew from startups to corporates.
Portray A Responsible Management Team
No corporate will want to work with an irresponsible management team, no matter the innovation or idea the startup has.
When a corporate engages with a startup, it invests money, human resources and other instruments.
The corporate wants to benefit from its investments, and when the startup management team is irresponsible, there is a great chance that will not occur.
Many corporates run background checks on the startup's management team before investing.
Do the management team love working?
Do they show up at meetings reeking of alcohol and having nothing to offer?
As a member of the management team, you are the face of the startup and can determine if you can get the corporate engagement you have always wanted or not.
Limit Your Failures
You are just starting your first startup, then you are in luck. It is important that you put all your effort in ensuring that the startup doesn't fail.
Before a corporate engages a startup, it finds out if the team has had success with a previous startup in the past, or if they have a lot of failures trailing them.
If the latter is the case, there is a great chance they will be discouraged, and likely go in search of another startup to engage with.
Whether it is a small startup you began for the fun of it, it is important you constantly try your best to ensure the startup succeeds.
Package Your Innovations
You may have an innovative idea or prototype, but in the raw state, it may have little or no value. The same can be said for some mineral resources underneath the ground.
In their crude form, they have little or no value, but when passed through refineries, their values increase tremendously.
The same can be said of your innovative ideas or prototypes. Pitching a raw idea, that is not packaged to a corporation may have them thinking you are not serious or you are merely building a castle in the sky.
You should package the idea in an innovative way, with prediction of its success rate, its profitability and other elements. The corporate will see that your startup knows what it is doing.
Keep A Clean Balance Sheet
No corporate wants to work with a startup that has leaky fingers. They do not want to invest in a startup that prefers to party around town, driving the best cars, while they have no assets or returns. The balance sheet shows the assets and liabilities of a startup.
A corporate will want to know the balance sheet of the startup, what their assets and liabilities are, and how they spend their finances.A corporation will only be interested in a corporate startup engagement when they are sure that they will benefit from the collaboration.
Give corporates a reason to fight over your startup.
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Corporate CEOs Have Failed to Engage With Startups
About the Author: Anthony W. Richardson is Founder and CEO at Gearbox.AI. In his prior life, he was a hired gun for venture capitalists, an author, a speaker, an entrepreneur and an advisor to global accelerators with a focus on growth, finance, and scale.
About Gearbox: Gearbox.AI provides the leading corporate-startup engagement solutions designed to help innovation leaders, corporate development professionals, and strategic partnership executives master the art and science identifying and aligning with what's next.
Through a unique combination of a corporate membership community, AI-driven software, and cutting-edge expertise, Gearbox is focused on helping corporations keep pace in an ever-changing digital world and providing startups with new avenues for growth. The result for modern innovators is unprecedented agility, risk management, and superior results.
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