One of the best things about being a small business owner is meeting other awesome small business owners. In fact, I would never have met some of my best friends had it not been for my crazy decision to start my own business. Even better, my awesome small business friends are always introducing me to new, awesome small business owners who become friends.
Take my friend Brian Wallace. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and now we chat – usually through Facebook Messenger – on a regular basis, pinging ideas and questions off of each other. It was during one of these conversations that Brian mentioned some of the big brands his company, Nowsourcing, partners with. My first reaction was, “WOW!” My second was, “Can I interview you?”
Here is how to partner with big brands according to my friend Brian:
Start out working with the companies in your back yard
Most companies want to work with the big ones – that’s the brass ring – and this has always been on the radar for NowSourcing. But you definitely have to prove yourself first – it’s the only way to build trust with them. Big companies want to see that you are successful working with other, smaller companies before they’ll take a chance on you.
Do something to get noticed
A few years ago, NowSourcing did an infographic called The Psychology of Color for a franchisee of a big paint company. It got massive attention and was picked up by all sorts of sites (it was a big Pinterest hit, too!). In that same week that the infographic blew up, Adobe and Google reached out to Brian’s team and said, “Hey, we like what you’re doing, so let’s talk.”
That was a very good week! While you can’t necessarily plan for something like this to happen, you can plan to create things that are great, that will stand out, that people will notice.
Make a big deal out of your big clients
Once you have a big company as a client, make a big deal out of it. For example, if you want UPS as a client, tell UPS that you have FedEx. The competition always wants what the other guy has – always! These companies have departments of people who look at what the competition is doing, and they’ll reach out to you.
Brian used to work for a Fortune 500 consumer products company, and they used to make decisions based on what Procter & Gamble was doing! Big companies don’t want to take risks. They want to know you understand how to work with big companies, and once you do, it is easier to get more.
Go where the big companies are
While you can reach out to big companies, they don’t like to be sold to or pitched any more than you do. Therefore, if Brian wants to reach Facebook, he’ll go where Facebook congregates. That’s why NowSourcing goes to SxSW every single year. All the big companies are there, and Brian said they end up earning an incredible ROI because they go in with a plan.
Parting thoughts from Brian:
“A lot of companies are smaller but still very well known. They’re still good to work with!”
If you’ve successfully partnered with big companies – even ones that are regionally big – what did you do to get on their radar?