Large companies increasingly rely on a strategic rolodex of industry experts to help them stay ahead of the industry. They recognize that they can't be the best at everything and small businesses can add real value in areas where they would like to expand. By providing critical industry and technical expertise, necessary skill sets and creative ideas that are feasible, small businesses can help distinguish large corporations from their competitors and serve as a strategic ally at the same time.
Through our experience, there are six key tips that you should know when working with a big company:
1. Don't Be intimidated. Small businesses deserve a seat at the table. If you believe in your product or service, convey that. Big companies don't always have the expertise you do and for this reason, you bring tremendous value. Don't let the name on the building instill fear in you - have confidence and show value by being the expert in your area.
2. Be Indispensable. Many large companies currently have a reduced staff due to budget restrictions or lack of resources, making it difficult to tackle challenges and retain quality personnel. Whatever the reason for internal cutbacks, you shouldn't be concerned because you are the solution! Leverage your expertise and seize the opportunity!
3. Exhibit Your Knowledge In Highly Targeted Spaces. Many executives in large companies juggle numerous challenges at once, causing them to become overwhelmed and spread too thin. This is an opportunity to show those senior executives what you can bring to the table: a targeted expertise in an area they see as a tricky issue. By becoming their preferred "go-to" subject matter expert in the space, your value and business will quickly be viewed as a reliable source for future projects.
4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask! The advantage of proving your company's worth within a large organization is the opportunity to expand beyond its current scope and into other projects throughout the corporation. If you are getting kudos on longer assignments or projects, don't be shy about asking for introductions to other colleagues. If your liaison wants to keep you "close to the vest," ask for introductions outside the U.S. in global corporations, where there typically isn't a conflict between U.S. and Global business units.
5. Create A Road Map. Not only will this help you keep focused on the project at hand, but you can also show ongoing opportunities to the corporation that they may not even be thinking about. This will also enable you to collaborate on research & development ventures that can be leveraged in new ways.
6. Don't Let Yourself Get Pushed Around Or Give Away Things For Free. Remember that your work and product has real value. Never put yourself in a place to feel diminished. At the end of the day, if you value your work, they will too.
No matter the size, your business can easily prove valuable to large corporations by staying within your focus area. You'd be surprised how appealing your company will be -- and what a difference you can make -- when you confidently position your niche industry expertise and targeted approach to America's corporate moguls. Never be afraid to challenge the status quo and establish yourself as a specialized thought leader!