Startup selling to big corporate

Seth Godin wrote an excellent blog post about pitching to a large corporate: the lowest possible price is not always the most important selling point. If you are a startup, it might result in the exact opposite effect: you just reinforced the image of the small, unprofessional, desperate, unreliable, financially instable company that is too high-risk to do business with.

If all the above are in fact true for your company, there are still some easy ways to camouflage it, and become a credible business partner to a large organization:
  • Show up on time, reply to questions promptly, confirm Outlook calendar invitations
  • Fill out forms, purchasing orders, even if you already provided the data in a previous email
  • List your real street address, list your real non-mobile phone number (can be a Skype redirect)
  • Have an email address with your company domain (can be forwarded back to gmail)
  • Use a decent web site template that contains more than an "under construction" place holder
  • Use high res stock images in your presentation, as opposed to solen low-res Google image search results
  • Get a professional photographer to make decent head shots of the team
  • Do not use ad-supported free, or worse: pirated software
  • Invest in business card paper
  • Create a professional email signature
  • Avoid Comic Sans
  • Clean up your computer desktop and hid embarrassing family pictures
  • Be careful with humor hardwired, written-down, in your slides, the company might not think it is funny
  • Understand hierarchies, going behind someones back to her boss does not mean you made a successful move up the ladder
The list goes on. Act like the company you want to be, and you are who you want to be.