“It is not easy for startups,” which need to navigate new challenges daily with limited resources, acknowledges Alex Bastos, the global director of innovation at Givaudan. But, he added, “it is not easy for us as well.”
Show me the money
Speaking at the Israel Export Institute's Rethinking Food conference earlier this year, Bastos outlined three tips for partnering with a global brand – the first of which is to position requests for help as a win-win.
He explained companies of all sizes struggle at some point to find their way, which is why if a one company wants help from another – they need to offer something in return.
Even though Givaudan is large and well established, Bastos said, “we are still learning,” and much like startups and smaller companies “we are just going through this process the same as when we started.”
Which means, like small companies, large companies don’t have a lot of extra time to sort through proposals and requests that do not immediately make it clear how a partnership will benefit them, he said.
“Please, when you come to a multinational company, do your homework and make the connection. Make it easier for us. Right on the entry point. … Help us find this as a win-win situation where [we can see] the opportunity for the innovator and also for the multinational,” he said.
The second tip, Bastos said, is to be transparent and don’t try to hide missing information or known challenges.
“For a global company like Givaudan, we must have all the information. There is no issue of you saying, ‘Alex, there is some research saying that we can go this way, this is our rationale, this is where we want to go, but we don’t know this, this and that,” he said.
“This is super important,” he added. “The worst thing that can happen is along the way when we are already advanced is all of your pitches aren’t making sense anymore because you don’t know any of that and you don’t have that.”
If all sides know what is missing all along they will be able to work together from the beginning to find the missing information.
Always be ready for action
When negotiating a partnership with a global company, startups and smaller companies should always be in “action mode” but also be prepared for the larger entity to go “black for a couple of weeks,” Bastos said.
He explained that global companies often have a lot going on and it is easy for something to slip through the cracks or be pushed to the back burner and unintentionally forgotten, which is why Bastos suggested entrepreneurs and innovators repeatedly check in.
“We need the entrepreneurs, we need the startups to keep following up on where we are,” and ask how they can push things forward or help make a connection happen, he said.
By following these three “simple” tips, he concluded, startups and entrepreneurs can make partnerships with large global corporations not only happen, but also last.