Early stage startups often find it tough to stand and grow on their own due to their tight resources; that’s why networks and cooperations with bigger companies or fundraisers (such as venture capitalist) should be established. The aim of building sustainable networks and matching with partners can be different, depending on the startup’s necessity. It can be that the startups need to scale fast, so they partner with many venture capitalists. Or they want to increase productivity and have a partner to share responsibility, thus they collaborate with bigger companies. The opportunities to find gateways to the public are many, some of which are by starting common product development procedures, finding team-members and business professionals, connecting to research and development (R&D) facilities and research institutions, etc.
Entrepreneurs do the business matchmaking daily to connect with a wide range of business professionals that can be beneficial for the success of their startups. The main reason to connect with professionals in the early stages of a startup is the opportunity to find team-members or co-founders. To build a strong team for a new business project, startups need to find people with different professional backgrounds to collaborate with for better startups development.
The perfect place to start business matchmaking is definitely universities with many students who are well-qualified and ready to take on business challenges. In this stage, it is crucial to crystalize the idea that founders are working on and present the complex overview of the plans to potential cofounders. In a perfect case of scenario, a startup founder can end up with a mix of professional students (even cross-country students) willing to work with the startup project. University or college students are usually keen on doing apprenticeship to build up their resumes early.
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Finding employees for a startup requires strong matchmaking abilities as well. Startups typically run on limited resources and that makes hiring professionals difficult. Therefore, as mentioned, collaborating with university students is a good choice. The core of strong collaboration in startups is common belief that the business idea is as strong as people who work on it.
There are plenty of matchmaking systems and solutions available to promote the call for cooperation. The most common ones are social networks like LinkedIn, AngelList, Facebook, CoFoundersLab and Founder2be. Publishing your call for expertise through these networks is easy and free, and the traction could be huge. If the matchmaking channel in social media is once opened, it has to be maintained and sustainable information should be provided constantly.
Another option of doing the cross-country matchmaking is setting up communication channels with universities, business incubators and accelerators. These organisations have their own channels that can be used to promote the call of action, and the channels are reaching the right target audience.
Building sustainable partnership
Strong partnership links with industry, R&D units and corporations are vital to a startup. These links require establishment, maintenance and execution. Very often a startup team assigns a full-time person to handle partnerships that help the company to meet its business goals.
Establishing partnerships with different organisations requires a strategic view of business goals. The partnerships should be beneficial to both parties and if they aren’t, the partnerships just don’t work. If, as a founder, you start establishing the links, it is smart to categorize the needed benefits. For example, if your company needs R&D support that can be found in the universities, it is smart to pick the universities close to you or the ones that have the track record of executing something similar to your product or service. If you need connections to distant markets it would be useful to establish links with the set of regional resellers or organisations that provide similar services in needed markets.
Maintaining a set of good-quality partnerships is hard work as well. The win-win collaboration should be sustainable and a system of value exchange should be established. One of the key aspects in establishing this situation is openness. Startup entrepreneurs are not usually keen to disclose their intentions and details of their product and services. But, it is good to present your startup partners the details of your business plan and make your intentions understandable for them. Even if they are not able to help you in some cases, they can still represent you and recommend you other links of partnerships. To protect your idea and your business strategy, it is good to develop a partnership agreement to ensure that both sides are protected and share the same vision of how the partnership will work.
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