Why it makes perfect sense for corporates to look out for startups, and how to make it work! And why startups should embrace such opportunities to tackle some of their most substantial challenges!
Almost any corporate out there has several decades of history that made them become who they are today. The strengths of corporates are manifold, but when it comes to why they are a perfect fit with startups the specific advantages are:
- They already present in their markets, which means they have market recognition and brand awareness, logistics and operations working, as well as an existing partner and customer base. „To scale“ is what they do for a living since ages, and they know how to do it.
- They have tons of assets. Something startups need to start with at zero.
- They need to stay ahead of the competition to remain innovative but lack the daring instincts of startups to go and pave out new areas.
- In many cases scaling existing business made them blind for the new potentials, so they are in urgent need of fresh blood, entrepreneurs with the right spirit to create a new service, product, or a whole new field of activities.
Whereas startups face complementary challenges in their early days:
- They have no existing market reach and basic knowledge on how to get there. Apart from that, they do not know how to scale.
- They have zero assets and have to bootstrap by lending their equipment and getting additional finance which will be bound in fixed assets.
- They are wild and crazy and go places no „Product Director“ who wants to keep his career path alive would even dare to look into.
- Have an unshakable team spirit that moves mountains to reach a goal.
This complimentary list could go on and on and on. In essence, corporates have what startups lack, and vice versa. And this is not limited to corporates, SMB/SMEs – in Germany known as Mittelstand – can offer the same, plus the additional bonus point of leaner hierarchies, profound belief in peoples abilities, and quick decision-making processes.
So basically it is a no brainer to get these two together. Both have what the other lacks, and vice versa.
The question is how they can get a date? What are dos-and-don’ts?
There are different types of strategies for a corporate to address this:
the lone ranger
Don’t ask for a date first place, wait until destiny takes care of it for you.
the good lookin´
Eagerly doing makeup in every corner, from print to youtube, even changing typos of door signs to fancy looking startup fonts. So yes, the marketing department got it. But who else read the memo?
the midlife crisis
Seeing that the best days are soon to end, and now trying hard on every end to get dated. Primarily dating anyone not considering the potential result. These are the names that are visible, and everybody enjoys the dinners, but that’s about it. None of the two knows where to go from that point onwards.
the travelling salesman
Being on every event, selling their corporate to any youngster that has the patience to listen. Persuading them to join their pitches, waving with incentives (money, travel, fancy offices, you name it). But too rarely closing a deal.
Whereas on the other hand there are the brides, our lovely startups, who also are no piece of cake either:
„We cannot share this here, first of all, we need to sign this NDA“ is their tag line. Blocking them out of the most interesting conversations, and ensuring they move pretty slow along the shores of events, pitches and personal relations with parties that are approaching them as they are interested in their product.
the cool team
Maintaining a good team spirit is one of the most important things for startups, but these guys only think on how to keep the spirit(s) up, but not how to get the service or product launched. If the team is not happy, nothing will happen.
They know it all. ´nuff said!
The list could go on and on. The common denominator here is: as in real life it needs a lot to not only get a fitting couple together but awareness of the needs and challenges of the respective partner as well.
Is worth mentioning that everybody become who they are for a reason. So a critical task for a successful engagement is to get an understanding of what’s the story behind the partner. And then act accordingly.
No startup initiative will be successful if the human factors are not attributed in the right way. One person on each side can ruin the whole deal. Regardless of the fat whom you want to see, define first what you want, get to know what to expect, make up your mind on how to tackle this, give clear instructions to your wing (wo)men, and don’t forget to have serious fun.
If you are a corporate looking at pumping up your innovation game with the help of startups why not change your perspective to a human-centric innovation point of view?
Customers, managers, shareholders all are humans. Think of how you can improve their lives, the way they work and the results they can create by incorporating new ideas.
areasix is happy to share their expertise in startup dating. So if you are in „the mood“ drop us a line!
Peter is founder and CEO of areasix. He brings more that 30 years of professional experience in diverse industries.
His main motivation is pure curiosity and the vision that technology should aim to improve human life and work.
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