Having a big B2B client can really boost your startup, from extra credibility to enhanced cash flow and economies of scale, but it can also strain resources and carry additional demands.

Your size may actually work to your advantage in your B2B dealings. For example, being smaller means you are more likely to be responsive and nimble, or able to offer a higher level of creativity and ability to bring a personal touch that can sometimes be watered down in big companies.

Doing the groundwork to plan for these partnerships will help you ensure ongoing success.

Don’t over-promise – Many startups are tempted to go beyond their core competencies to win a big contract. Avoid that if you can. Focus on delivering only the things you do really well.

Be prepared to adapt their systems – You’ll probably need to change the way you work to fit with your client’s internal systems. This can take many different forms. Remember to be flexible.

Know who your client’s key people are – Big B2B companies have a lot of people. Some of them will help you and others will hinder you. It’s important to know the decision makers, those who are advocating for you and those who are road blockers.

Present yourself in force – When meeting with prospective or new clients, consider bringing additional members of your team along. This shows that your company is more than a one-person organisation.

Communicate regularly and thoughtfully – Regular communication is an important B2B tip for all your clients. Being a proactive communicator shows you’re committed to the project, and its success.

Keep your branding and communications consistent – People in big corporations generally see polished presentations, marketing collateral and stationery. Your materials don’t have to be quite as slick as that, but make sure they’re tidy, consistent and professional.

Whatever you do, remember that your clients – big and small – picked your business for a reason. Be confident in what you can do.

Hold onto your startup roots, your mission and your vision.

Be honest, upfront and give them the personal touch they simply don’t get from big corporates.

 

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