Lesson 5: Make sure you have a structure in place to manage partnerships
- New partners need attention and resources
Story Behind the Lesson
We helped a large consumer products companies invest in several promising start-ups. The employees of the start-up were excited by the access to the deep resources of the large company—particularly technical and supply chain know-how. Employees of the large company; however, didn’t know how to react when they were asked to help the start-ups. Assisting the start-ups wasn’t a part of their objectives and was a significant impingement on their time.
You’ll hear us say again and again “Small companies innovate, large companies scale.” But doing the actual scaling requires being able to use the internal expertise and resources in a way that delivers on the reason for the partnership without disrupting the current business.
This means aligning your internal resources before the deal is done. How the small company will be interacting with the big company must be thought through early in the planning stages of the relationship. This includes:
- Capacity: Do the internal teams have the time and/or resources available to give to the new partner?
- Tracking: Can the assistance be turned into measurable objectives for the internal team members? How will the time and support be tracked?
- Clarity: Is it clear who the partners will be working with and how they can contact and interact with the internal teams?
- Reward: How will the internal teams be rewarded for working with the start-ups?
At Venadar we’ve created playbooks for clients, to delineate how internal teams will engage with their new partners to ensure that the relationship between the established company and the start-up is a success for all.