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B2B tips for working with big companies : Part One

Big companies could come knocking

In today’s rapidly changing landscape, businesses of all shapes and sizes are working together. It’s no longer the case that big companies only do business with other big companies.

The democratization of technology, better access to lending and a global market for talent mean that your business can find clients anytime and anywhere. So you’ve every chance of landing a big client. This can provide your business with many advantages.

Big B2B can take you to the next level

  • Revenue and cashflow Bigger clients often come with bigger budgets. And while they can be slow to pay, you know they eventually will. It generally equates to more money in the bank.

  • Enabling business development The extra revenue from a big client can help fund the resources you need to go after more new business.

  • Simplicity and efficiency Bigger organizations often have systems and people in place to make your job as a supplier easier. Plus their bigger projects should give you economies of scale.

  • Advertising and credibility There’s nothing like landing a marquee client to make other businesses notice you. A prominent client can dramatically raise your profile.

  • Staff engagement and retention Working on a high-profile client account can boost morale and make your employees feel more fulfilled by their work.

  • Plug into bigger networks Once you start working for big companies, you’ll get access to a different network. You can sell to other divisions within their business or form relationships with fellow suppliers who could send work your way.

Be aware of the challenges and risks

While big clients bring many benefits to your business, no list of B2B tips would be complete without a discussions of the challenges as well:

  • They can leave a big hole If you lose a major client – and this can happen without warning – it can take a long time to replace all the revenue.

  • They can be very demanding With big budgets come big expectations. Plus large clients generally have a lot of process and approval requirements. In short, they're going to chew up a lot of time.

  • Price negotiation can be one-sided If you become too reliant on a big client, you won’t have much bargaining power when renegotiating fees or retainer arrangements.

  • Payment can take time Perhaps the most painful B2B tip for working with big companies – they may take a long time to pay your invoices. That will almost certainly create cashflow issues, especially if you’re carrying third-party costs.

  • They can be slow to move Big clients often have complex decision-making processes, which makes them slow to approve new work.

  • They can cost you money You’ll probably need to hire extra staff or subcontractors to meet the demand of a big project. Be careful those costs don’t get out of control.

  • Stress levels may go up Meeting the expectations of a demanding client who’s just spent a lot of money with you can change workplace dynamics. The pressure levels will go up.

It’s also worth asking any of your small-business peers for their B2B tips. They’ll each have different experiences and they’ll all have valuable advice.

Use your small size to your advantage

Working with big companies has obvious upsides for your business. But don’t assume the benefits flow just one way. There are many reasons big businesses like to work with smaller ones. Make these qualities part of your pitch.

  • Nimble Small businesses are generally more responsive. There’s less bureaucracy and people are often quicker to answer emails or phone calls.

  • Creative Smaller businesses can be better at letting talented people do good work. Ideas are sometimes watered down by groupthink and risk aversion at bigger companies.

  • Personal Clients get jaded with the corporate gloss and rhetoric they see every day. Your honesty and personal touch can be refreshing.

There are many reasons big businesses like to work with smaller ones. Make these qualities part of your pitch.Need help on assessing your resources to take on big clients? Get in touch with us.

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