How To Do Business With A Large American Company The Right Way

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lisa Damast of Israel Innovation 2.0. Follow Lisa @lisadamast.

Israel’s largest Internet conference, TheMarker COM.vention took place in Rishon Lezion yesterday and offered three tracks: digital marketing, mobile and technology. The technology track included panels on investing in Israel with members of different investment groups and different companies as well as the future of content distribution and what that means for traditional media.

Perhaps the most important session for founders was a presentation by Alex Maghen, the CTO of MySpace, who spoke about the right and wrong ways for small Israeli startups to do business with big companies in the United States and Europe.

Some of the key points he made included:

1. Understand their Business
When meeting with a big company, understand who owns the company, what sensitivities it might have about its competitors and what the benefit of your product or service is for them in specific.

2. Focus – What are we?
Be able to define your startup, including in terms of how its relevant to the big company and to the people you’re presenting it to.

3. Scalability and business maturity
Show them that you are prepared to and understand what it means to work with a big company. Explain your abilities and limitations for scaling honestly and mention key terms that the tech departments at big companies deal with, including data security, auditability, redundancy and disaster recovery among others.

4. Do the work for them
Define the product and integration for them. Offer wireframes and mock-ups, functional phototypes.

5. Friends in high places aren’t everything
Even if you have a friend at a high level, in the end, the tech decisions might come down to someone with a position lower down in the scale who can kill the project if he or she feels threatened. It’s important to have personal relationships with many workers in the company.

Other suggestions Maghen made included to be cautious about what other companies you work with to avoid any issues with the original company, to run your pitch by one of your connections at the company beforehand and to have a lawyer as everything in large companies goes through lawyers.

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Categories: Advice, Conferences, Startups

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