Young Companies Should Seek Partnerships, Not Sales
As some of you are already aware, I am working with MatchMyFoot, a start up whose smartphone application helps online customers choose their best shoe size fit by automatically matching their own scanned foot dimensions with actual shoe measurements.
While the MatchMyFoot engine is a powerful technology, it is still in beta stage. We are still refining the application's usability and validating its measurement engine. The firm's owners and I decided that our wisest path to market would be to carefully seek out partnerships with a few firms from different market sectors who would be willing to work with us to customize and refine our product.
Our approach in speaking with prospective partners has been to be extremely open and to share with them our development status and rationale for desiring a partnership with them. We explain that in working with them we would benefit from access to their shoe measurement data to validate our engine and their guidance and constructive feedback to refine usability. In turn, they and their customers would receive a tailored application designed to be highly consistent with their individual needs. In addition, they would capture first mover advantages and favorable business terms.
The soundness of this approach became evident just two days ago at the conclusion of a very open and candid phone conversation with a prominent footwear company. They offered us a trial as a first step in building a partnership with them. We are pleased and grateful for the opportunity. We are also fully aware that we received this offer only because we expressed our interest in partnering with them versus seeking to (prematurely) sell them a product still undergoing refinement.
Do you view your company's new business development efforts in terms of partnership opportunities? If not, perhaps you should.