The question of how startups should approach doing business with larger companies is a difficult one. At recent events for entrepreneurs in London, executives from BSkyB, Huddle and Microsoft, along with Dragons' Den panellist James Caan, shared their views on the subject, and discussed what they look for when approached by startups.
"These are points that need to be thought about, but which may just seem like common sense," said Maz Nadjm, online community product manager at BSkyB, talking at a TechCrunch talk to debate the key trends in the startup scene.
"For example, in talks to discuss investment the first things we look at are performance metrics, like how many clicks have there been on the startup's web site since day one.
"Also the flexibility of the startup's technology. Can they white label, and do they have widgets? It also helps if the technology is transportable. You don't want to acquire a startup that requires a whole new content management system, for example."
Nadjm's other advice to startups included being highly scalable in order to handle unexpected traffic loads. "Think about the cloud, because this allows you to scale up and down," he suggested.
Startups providing community online applications need to consider moderation techniques, according to Nadjm.
"Sky thinks about moderation a lot because we are a family-friendly environment and we need to watch what people say on our forums and networks," he explained. "All video, audio and text needs to be controlled."
Charlie Blake Thomas, commercial director at collaboration firm Huddle, told attendees at Microsoft's BizSpark Summit earlier this week that face-to-face marketing in the early days should be a first priority.
"Get in front of open-minded people and test the proposition with them," he said. "Get feedback."
Thomas advised startups to concentrate in business meetings on how their product brings value, rather than how the technology works, and to "use their language to describe it".
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