Last month, I talked about doing the hardest thing in a startup – i.e. getting customers. This month – the 2nd month of the year, I am going to talk about Alliance and Partnership. In the course of our strategic planning (yes, we do plan even though we are a start up !), we know that our size is small and our reach is limited. With limited resources, we can only be very selective in targeting premium customers and focus our energy on closing these deals – i.e. getting customers.
At the same time, we did ask ourselves, is there another way to reach out to more customers? The answer is yes. Through Alliance and Partnerships. We know that we have to find bigger and stronger companies, pitch a business objective that will be win-win for both parties to work together. But why would big companies want to work with us or work with any start up? This is a fundamental question that we do ask ourselves constantly. Why?
We believe that big companies, being big companies – tend to be risk averse. This is a constant dilemma that they will not do something that will disrupt their own success at the current stage. Why would they innovate or invent something new that will make their current most lucrative business irrelevant? This just doesn’t make sense and the shareholders will not agree to such moves. We have seen big companies that become irrelevant themselves by big and disruptive changes in technology. So how do big companies overcome this dilemma? On one hand, maintaining their lucrative business success and on the other hand, looking out for new technology and ideas?
We believe that there is a trend where big companies are watching the start-ups. In fact, working with start-ups is a sure way to mitigate risks from the big companies. The start-up undertakes significant risks to develop new products and solutions while the big companies have existing customers which are ready customers for validation. Thus, we see this alliance and partnership between big companies and start-ups, as a win-win alliance. Big companies gain access to innovative products without risking their internal resources while the start-up gains by exposure to ready customers !
Yes, not all big companies believe in this. That’s why our job is to find the right partners and right alliance. This may be as tough as finding customers for a start. But since I have started the hardest thing of finding customers, why not do the next hardest thing? Find the right alliance?
And this was what I did in Feb 2014. Flew more than 14 hours to a major exhibition in a far far away land. Get my hands on the group, sensing the new trends and direction. Also finding opportunities to talk to the big companies and hoping to find alliances that will help both parties.
So what is the result? Well, since this is the next hardest thing, we don’t expect instant success. Each trip will build our experience and I believe very strongly that we will find the right alliance within this first half of the year. If not, we do what we do best – persevere and push on. We will find the alliance and once we find it, we are going to build a strong business with this alliance.
With best regards,