As a startup, you probably have no shortage of innovative ideas and pie-in-the-sky goals, and more than likely, at the top of that list of goals is signing contracts with large enterprises.
Landing an enterprise contract can be a paradigm shift for your company that kick-starts a lasting upward trajectory and sets you up for long-term stability. What startup CEO wouldn’t want that?
However – and surely you knew there was going to be a “however” – not everyone has the wherewithal right out of the gate to jump into the proof-of-concept deep end and begin working with enterprises.
Large enterprises have specific sets of requirements that are designed to weed out software services that do not meet their standards, and each business is different.
So, how do you know if your startup is ready? We’ve put together a list of five signs that will help you make that decision.
You are ready to wade into the world of enterprise proof-of-concepts if:
You Have Time
Finalizing an enterprise sale takes a long time. If you can’t afford to wait to close a contract, then you really shouldn’t be going after the big fish just yet. While there are ways to speed up the process like conducting your outreach, communication, and proof-of-concept on an all-in-one platform, closing with a such a large company will still not happen overnight.
Signing with an enterprise should not be a last ditch effort to save your business. This doesn’t mean you should never take the leap, but it does mean that you should find more SME clients to stabilize your bottom line in the meantime.
You Have Funding
In some ways, having funding is related to having time. With a lot of funding, you can dig deep and build your business the right way, without the pressure of having to secure large enterprise contracts just to stay afloat.
However, having a lot of funding can also signal to large enterprises that your product is on the bleeding-edge of innovation. If your product excites investors, then chances are it will also rouse potential enterprise clients.
You Have Experience
Most smart companies begin by targeting the SME sector. They build their resources over the years before levelling-up to large enterprise clients. Some startups do actually manage to target enterprise-level clients out of the gate, but you shouldn’t count on this.
Oftentimes, these startups are founded by people with experience in the enterprise space who have also managed to raise a ton of funding. Odds are you don’t fit in this category, so your best bet is to build experience through more manageable SME clients.
You Have Relationships
Join committees. Attend conferences. Work with other vendors. Publish in industry publications. Do whatever it takes to form connections with potential enterprise customers.
As cliché as it might sound, business is relationships. Even some of the most well-worn clichés have a kernel of truth, and the more personal you become with people at enterprise-level companies, the more likely you are to eventually land a sale when the time comes.
You Have Plateaued
The last sign that your startup is ready to move into the large enterprise proof-of-concepts world is that maintaining your growth through smaller contracts has slowed or plateaued.
In the beginning, rapidly signing modest new contracts can mean nearly exponential growth for your startup. Eventually, though, the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and you will find it more difficult to sustain the level of growth with which you’ve become accustomed. Then, it might be time to move on up.
Let Your Technology Do the Talking
Hopefully, these five signs that you are ready to partner with enterprises help you make what should be a transformative decision for your startup.
Using an end-to-end proof-of-concept platform like prooV that gives you easy access to open PoC opportunities can bridge any gaps you have in time and relationships.
If you have the funding, experience and stability to partner with enterprises, you can put your company out there and let your technology do the talking.