Watching Star Wars again the other day I realized the similarities of Lando Calrissian to small business owners. Remember him? He, too, was managing a thriving small business and clearly understood the power of running a business in the cloud. Overall he seemed to be a suave businessman looking to succeed and keep his employees’ best interest at heart. Unfortunately, he was tripped up when he started to work with a much larger organization. True, the bigger company tended to use the power of the Dark Side of the Force and that’s not really fair, but how can small business successfully work with much larger enterprises? Here are a few tips we feel Lando would endorse if we could find him.
- Making deals with a big player? This is a good time to call your lawyer. They’ll help you write or review a contract and ensure that it’s equitable for both sides. Plus, they provide objective, arms-length insight into your deal. It might sound great that your prospective partner wants to resell a million of the power converters you’ve developed, but what are the ramifications of falling behind on delivery? You can be certain that the other company’s thinking about it.
- Solid business fundamentals. Just as a bank offering a loan would do its diligence, your bigger potential partner will want to see that you’re running a rock-solid business. Your business practices, finances and administration need to be in order. (We can help with that.)
- Make sure your technology is compatible. Not everyone has a C3PO at hand to help out with the translation, so ensure you’ve got a system that integrates with the big guys. Larger retail customers often require Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) software to facilitate buy and sell transactions, and no small business owner I know has enough spare time to manually code shipments.