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I'm a founder of TaskBeat - the productivity application for connected enterprise. Personally I'm trying to reconcile entrepreneur, manager and engineer in one bio.

Why big companies avoid buying from startups?

Big companies avoid buying from startups for a reason. No one wants a deal with a lean startup that can be gone in secs following the sale. This pinpoints the whole problem with the idea of a “lean business”. As far as the principle goes “lean” startups should pivot, explore and implode as frequently, and as fast as required. Although its probably the best for the startup business, it also implies a nightmare scenario for customers and business clients who deal with lean startups.

The fact that being “lean” reduces your chances of selling to big, risk averse, slow changing business is my biggest criticism of the “lean startup” which favours the vendors over buyers, specifically in the service area (including software as a service). While being “lean” is the best service a startup can do to themselves with mass market products, it imposes just too much risk for larger corporate clients, who might not have any chance of deciding which features of your product go in and which go out in the next release.

Personally I think that if startups want to sell to big companies, they need to change their approach to market strategy, demonstrate stability of the business, clear direction in product development and more than anything else: persistance in executing the vision being the core of the business. Selling software as a service to a large corporate environment might also mean adopting a new approach: creating a clear roadmap for the product, in some cases giving up the traditional deployment model in favour of private “on premise” deployments.

Just by demonstrating financial stability, commitement to the product and a clear product development roadmap worked well for us while pitching TaskBeat – our project management solution to many corporate environments. By addressing the issues of the “lean startup” and providing clarity, control and support guarantees over the deployed solution we’ve managed to provide reassurance for many corporate environments. Over the time one other quality that works increasingly well for us is the reputation and track record of supporting the solution for many clients over longer peroid of time, which also probably works even better than any other paper based guarantee or statement we could ever come up with to aid our future pitches.


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