Six Steps for Startups to Master the Corporate Minefield

Dr. Nicolai Schättgen, writing for the startup grind:

Collaborations between corporates and startups are difficult and painful. Corporates are slow, can’t decide, are inflexible, have terrible processes and often even show a bad attitude towards startups.

In a recent survey we asked startups about their perception of the corporates – their responses – and my personal favorites were, “cold-war technologies,” “pedantic” or “stodgy.”

Still, startups are well advised to understand that a successful corporate collaboration is generally a critical element of success. Corporates might serve as a buyer, as a sales partner, as a supplier, as a strategic partner or simply as a service provider.

At some point dealing with corporates becomes almost – inevitable.

Thereby startups are well advised to be careful when being critical of the big corporations, especially when reviewing missed collaboration opportunities. Too fast and too often corporates are blamed for anything and everything – as we all know them as “bad.” But I have seen many instances where the real problem was anything but the corporate’s fault.

Startups can significantly increase their success rate, if they adhere to six basic rules. These refer predominantly to the corporate as the buyer, but can also be transferred to many startup-corporate situations.

The corporate minefield is something every startup needs to navigate and Nicolai has covered six of the steps that are especially useful.


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