Entrepreneurs may rely on several tactics to grow their operations, including marketing and advertising campaigns, innovative products, and superior customer service. But some small business owners may also want to forge alliances with big-box companies, such as Walmart®, Target® and similar corporations, to jump-start sales in a big way.  Developing business ties with large companies can provide more exposure to your products, but establishing a relationship usually requires research and persistence.

1. Contact the company

Knowing which companies you want to work with is one thing, but getting their attention is another.  Companies usually have their own processes and requirements for pitching an idea. Most offer instructions on their websites about submitting proposals and collaborating on projects, while others provide specific contacts. It can also be helpful to speak with current employees about the best approach to take to set up a meeting or get in contact with the appropriate parties. Keep in mind that it’s important to follow the proper chain of command and obey company instructions when requesting collaboration.  Once the meeting has been set, give it the same level of attention you would if you were asking for a loan or speaking with a potential investor. This means having detailed information – including product descriptions, current sales, market research, operating budgets and other relevant details – readily available to persuade a company to work with you.

2. Do your homework

Similar to any type of business venture, being prepared and knowing your audience is crucial to getting what you want. Understand what types of customers large companies serve and use this information to develop your pitch and explain why your particular product will benefit the business. Explain why your product offers benefits that competitor items can’t provide, so you will stand out among the sea of other competitors.

3. Follow through

Because of the benefits these larger companies may afford small businesses, they probably receive a large volume of requests.  They may also have significant assets, partners and investors, meaning you may have to take the reins when it comes to contacting the right people, scheduling meetings and being persistent about making progress. For this reason, it’s crucial to gain and keep their attention and continue making contacts.  If the first person you speak with doesn’t respond, look for another way to make a connection.

4. Prepare yourself for new responsibilities

Big businesses operate on a different financial and legal playing field than smaller companies, so it’s important that you are prepared for changes that may come your way if you do get a large order.  Have your attorney review all paperwork to make sure you’re legally protected.  Then review your finances to determine whether you have enough cash flow to ramp up your production or hire more employees if necessary to accommodate. It’s vital that your infrastructure can support these changes so you don’t disappoint your new client.

Need advice on how to manage cash flow for your company?  Stop by any of Nevada State Bank’s Business Centers and talk to a business banker for information on lines of credit*, business loans* and other cash flow solutions.  Click here to find a location near you.

*Subject to credit approval; restrictions apply.


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