Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane-Fox,co-founders of lastminute.com and Founders Forum give their top tips on how large retailers can work with small technology start-up businesses.
· Find people you are comfortable dealing with – the process can take a lot longer than you initially expect so you need to like the people you are working with
· Look who you are dealing with in the start-up business – if the founder isn’t in every meeting they are not taking it seriously
· Don’t pay too much attention to client references – they usually have a PR agency behind them
· Don’t look too closely at the history of the individual. You can’t qualify what people can do but what they have done in the past.
· Find an internal champion within your business and incentivise them to make the partnership work. No-one wants to own innovation as it means extra work, so they need a reason to own it.
· Working with start-ups is always going to be extremely cost effective, just remember not to exploit. If you don’t provide an incentive and problems arise, they will walk away.
· Define success. It can be difficult to set a benchmark and you will need to be flexible but KPIs should be set
· Accepting failure – corporates need to understand that things can go wrong but you can’t give up on start-ups when it doesn’t go to plan at first.