For start-ups, even securing an initial meeting with a corporation can be tough — let alone establishing a partnership. Here are some best practices to help start-ups generate corporate interest in collaborating after the meeting.
Corporations are a “black box” to external entrepreneurs, and initiating contact with decision-makers can be difficult. As a serial (and quite successful) entrepreneur told us, “I wouldn’t even be able to enter their office, let alone start a collaboration.” If even experienced entrepreneurs struggle to secure the chance to collaborate, one can only imagine how difficult it must be for first-timers and early-stage start-ups.
Initiatives such as “speed-dating” events, where multiple start-ups pitch to corporate representatives, can facilitate the process. At such events, often organized by intermediaries, corporate “scouting teams” look to generate an inflow of ideas, technologies, and solutions for the company. Despite such efforts, start-ups are still unlikely to capitalize on this crucial first encounter.
At the first meeting, early-stage start-ups must garner sufficient interest to secure a follow-up meeting. A good performance during that first interaction is essential. There are usually no second chances. But how can start-ups gain that critical second meeting?
To understand what works, the authors attended 150 one-on-one meetings between start-ups and corporations such as IBM, Sony, SAAB, L’Oréal, Scania, Toyota, and AstraZeneca. Their observations helped identify five best practices to help start-ups generate corporate interest in collaborating after the meeting.
Read more at Harvard Business Review.