“We have contracting and recruitment relationships so we can onboard resources on an as-needed basis,” he explains.
“You also need to make sure you have a resources back-up plan and set the right expectations. Don’t set an expectation you can have 10 people working on a project tomorrow; you need to be clear if it will take you a number of weeks to get to full capacity on a project.”
He says, from a financial perspective, it’s also key to ensure the larger business pays you milestone payments, so you can manage your own cashflow and costs.
Toby Jenkins is the CEO of web strategy company Bluewire Media. The business has dealt with the Australian subsidiaries of large multinational corporations.
He says personal connections are one of the best ways to get on the radar of a bigger business.
“We’ve done work with a subsidiary of a large global financial services business, whose CEO I met through a friend at a Christmas drinks party,” he says.
“I followed up with him after the party and the relationship evolved from there, from one small piece of work to a bigger relationship.”
Like Smith, Jenkins says the fact Bluewire is local is an advantage that can be leveraged when competing against bigger business for work: “We understand the local market and the language, which makes a difference, because a global strategy is not going to work in every geography.”
With another large client, the first contact was made after the business searched Google for a special media speaker and found Bluewire.
The client liked Bluewire’s website, then engaged the business to prepare a social media strategy, then rollout the strategy.
But, unlike Smith, Jenkins says Bluewire avoids pitching for business whenever possible.
“It’s an extremely expensive process and so much depends on the relationship with the client firm – going in cold can be a nightmare,” he says.
Marcus Dervin is the director of WebVine, which specialises in developing SharePoint solutions and websites for clients.
As a former Commonwealth Bank employee, initially he was able to win work from the bank thanks to his relationships with staff at the company.