How to pitch your start-up to a big corporate

By: David Landsman

Date: 22 August 2017

How to pitch your start-up to a big corporateIt often seems that start-ups and big corporates speak different languages, run at different speeds and even serve different purposes. But a shift is definitely happening in the way that big and small companies work together. Corporates are taking start-ups - even very young ones - far more seriously.

The Tata group is nearly 150 years old and employs over 650,000 people worldwide. But, like all big businesses, we were a start-up once and we know that we need to keep innovating if we want to stand a chance of surviving for another 150 years.

Yet we all know that in large companies, making decisions tends to take time. There are conference calls, rounds of approvals and the views of multiple internal stakeholders to consider. Cue the small and nimble start-up that can get moving quickly, take risks and experiment without the same constraints.

A partnership between a start-up and a corporate benefits both parties. Start-ups have the freedom to pursue business opportunities quickly; corporates have access to greater resources to execute innovative ideas.

So what does it take for a start-up to get noticed in the corporate world and how should you pitch your business?

1. Be unique

Even if your initial plan was to improve on someone else's product, the compelling idea must be one that no one else has had. If you're not offering anything really new, go back to the drawing board.

2. Promote your business

As a start-up, every opportunity to showcase your brand to potential investors, partners and customers is invaluable. Look out for events and competitions like Varsity Pitch, where you have a chance to win support and funding. Although competitions vary, once you have prepared your pitch - including a robust business case with numbers you can justify - it should be relatively easy to adjust it to fit the next opportunity.

3. Know your audience

Before you approach a potential partner, buyer or investor, it's vital to research the organisation thoroughly and really understand their business. Find out about the individuals you will be pitching to and understand their expertise and interests so you can find the best way of explaining your project in terms that will appeal to them.

4. Capture the essentials

You'll be tempted to show off all the features you've spent time developing, but investors are mainly interested in the problem your product solves, why you've got the best solution and how the numbers add up. Can you, in less than five minutes, explain the project, the return on investment and the growth strategy?

Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 David Landsman is executive director of Tata Limited.