As a corporate, you probably wish that there was a “Tinder for corporations”, so that you can find your match as a startup, and try to make things work. But if there was such a service, corporations would probably be a 10/10 girl and startups would be random dudes who are trying to “score” with the 10/10. So the presentation of the startups would be the most important thing, and therefore they will probably have lots of exaggeration.
When you are a growing corporation and want to increase your growth with the help of a startup, you need to determine your weaknesses and work with startups who can help you with that specific area. So you do not need Tinder, you need spot-on “matches”, which means you need services like e-Harmony or OkCupid. e-Harmony and OkCupid make you answer questions and matches you with best people that the system thinks is best for you (Please don’t ask how I got all that detailed knowledge about matchmaking sites).
Those services make assessments to determine your and your potential match’s traits so that the “magic” in the system matches you with best possible people. The most important thing in those systems is the assessment part, which is about asking the crucial questions and analyze the answers.
So what answers are you looking for? Here are best practices before partnering with your dream startup;
Specify your problems clearly
It is ok to have lots of options, but usually having lots of options does not guarantee a good result and also going through those options can waste your time. This statement applies to almost everything, not just “matchmaking”. To reduce the number of options and maybe even attract more spot-on startups, you need a clear problem statement.
After you state your tendencies and problems clearly to possible partners, in this case startups, they can work towards your problem even before they arrive to the first meeting. Rather than having a general meetup, they can clearly tell you how they can effectively solve that problem. You can have more detailed discussions toward the solution.
Determine the areas of your business vulnerable to disruption
Even if startups themselves do not use the word disruptive much, we are using it a lot while talking about successfull startups. Disruptive is a great keyword for startups, but on the other hand, it is “disruptive” for corporations. There are lots of examples for disruptive startups, who make giant corporations run out of business.
You need to define your threats on your business (or businesses), like “Which part of my business is out-of-date?” or “What kind of a solution can crash my established business?”. It is hard to define those problems, yet you can at least brainstorm about it. It is best you do it with disruptive minds at startups, rather than doing it with your intrapreneurs.
Make sure that your company culture is fit for startups
While we talked about assesments in the previous part, there are also companies that provide assessment services for your company culture. They are usually used for hiring new people within your company, but in some ways getting a startup as a partner is no different. You need to make sure that your company culture is ready for that kind of partnership, but also you need to make the startup sure that they are fit to get involvec with your company.
Corporations usually have traditional work routines, which is not fit for a startup. Even if in real-life it is not the case, most startups can be a bit too relaxed for some corporate business flows.
Before you start working with a startup, make sure that related parties or departments within your organization are aware of the situation. Organize technical meetings with the startup and your departments before going on for a POC or pilot.
Provide startups with a VIP
VIP, in this case, means Very Innovative Person. Even if you can give all necessary connections to your potential startup, they will probably contact to wrong person time to time. To avoid awkward situations and improve communication between your company and the startup, choose a VIP for your project. This VIP can introduce startups to your company and related department heads.
As a best practice, you should have an innovation team, which is responsible for bombarding your company with ideas, finding disruptive startups that you can work with or connecting right people with startups.
Get rid of your corporate bullshit documents
First of all, you need to accept that most of startups hate corporate life, even if they want to get involved in your business badly. They hate the bureacracy that you have before every step you take. And if you ask entrepreneurs, that is one the reasons that they left corporate life to “follow their dream”.
Before you work with them, get ready to move faster than you normally do. Provide them with faster ways to handle your corporate routine. Go easy on your tens of pages long agreements, security checks, legal procedures. If possible, make your related teams work for those startups for faster onboarding process.
Next step: Matchmaking
Now that you are ready to onboard a startup witin your company culture, you need to define how are you gonna work with them. There are many different ways that you can collaborate with startups, but to make the best selection for your company’s sake, you can also get help from a third party (Have you heard about a company called Hackquarters?).
We will talk about the best ways of working with a startup in a new article. Do not forget to comment or ask questions below!