Small business – secrets to success with the big players

By October 16, 2013Business

Yesterday as part of our work for Dell’s participation at the SOHO|SME conference in Toronto, we had the pleasure to hear Ingrid Vanderveldt, Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell, deliver the closing keynote. First, I can tell you the audience was more than a little surprised to discover a large corporation like Dell, is offering investment and support to small business under the banner – Technology is the key to growth.

And even more inspiring,  “Empowering a Billion Women by 2020” is Vanderveldt’s personal missionwith the plan to guide motivated women to success and help make their visions a reality by providing the tools, technology, and resources.

Vanderveldt told the audience, “Forming relationships with global corporations is the secret sauce to my own success.” And she runs a 100 million dollar credit fund on behalf of Dell, to help others make those connections. ( feels they can fast track themselves by teaming up with entrepreneurs.

Here’s her top 5 tips to ensure you build a winning proposal. I think you can apply them to any scenario or pitch to a potential organization. If you’ve sat down with representatives from any large corporation, you’ll find the list below rings true and offers additional insights.  
1.  Show us you care. Show us that you actually care about us-we like to see people who love our brand. Be brand ambassadors.
2.  Value proposition. Understand your value prop and very quickly explain it. Know the numbers-help us make money and save money.
3.  Know your champion. Do your homework — finding the right person inside the company is critical – know your champion and utilize that relationship.
4.  Make it easy. With regard to your champions – understand how busy they are-be clear and concise-make sure your proposal is not too complicated.
5.  Start small. Companies want you – to lean on you to do innovation. They will take risk but not on an unknown entity – you look brilliant if you say I know it’s new-let’s start with 3 months and then assess how we’re doing.  Perhaps look at discount options- you help if the cost to the corporation is kept low upfront.