Trend of Big Corporations Partnering with Small Businesses

small business and big-business partneringMickey Meese writes in the New York Times about the trend of large corporations partnering with small businesses.

The eXpresso Corporation, a start-up company in Palo Alto, Calif., followed a well-worn path in technology by aligning with Microsoft, Cisco, and other big-name companies to market its services.

“All of these major corporations, at some point, have a need for new, innovative products and services because they can’t develop them all in-house,” said John Howard, vice president for business development at eXpresso, which offers an online service that allows people to store, edit and share Microsoft Office documents.

“They look to start-ups for the next great things they want to add to their product offerings.”

In turn, the smaller company can tap into the expansive reach of its bigger partner, which is critical in a downturn, Mr. Howard added. “We can piggyback to some extent on their marketing power.”

These small-business/big-business partnerships have spread beyond technology and now can be found in every industry, said Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research in Lafayette, Calif.

The articles give other examples, too. They range from free help resources and small business community sites such as American Express’s OPEN Forum and Intuit’s Small Business United grant campaign, all the way to product licensing programs such as Proctor & Gamble’s Connect and Develop program.

The significance of this trend can’t be overstated. As a small business you can get much broader market reach through partnering than you can on your own, provided you are willing to move at the pace of the larger company. Also, with access to free resources to build your business, you can grow your business and run it smarter.

If you are not looking around for opportunities in your industry to partner with bigger companies, or if you are not looking at big-company vendors to see what free resources and help they offer, you could be missing out.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.