Business partners closing deal on a new contract

As a small business owner, becoming a supplier to a large company or multinational corporation can lead to dramatic, sustainable growth in your revenue stream. A recent survey of 180 small businesses by the Center for an Urban Future, NYC, revealed that “breaking into the corporate supply chain is a huge challenge for many small firms“, however, entrepreneurs who are doing business with bigger companies are well rewarded for their efforts.

How to Win Contracts with Big Companies

Survey respondents working with corporations reported an impressive 266.4 percent average revenue growth within two years of winning a contract with a large corporation. In terms of actual income, 63 percent of small businesses that win larger contracts earn over $500,000 per year, while 77 percent those who aren’t doing business with bigger companies have annual revenues under $500,000.

Here’s what you can do to improve your odds of becoming a corporate supplier:

Start With Sound Research

Begin by short-listing the companies you’d like to solicit, then focus on researching your prospects. Learn as much as you can about their operations, products, services, and potential pain points of each corporation you’d like to pitch to.

Remember, big companies are looking for suppliers who offer specific solutions that provide tangible benefits to their bottom line. Research will help ensure your pitch answers the all-important question of what value a partnership with your small business will deliver.

Get Certified As a DBE

If your business is owned and/or controlled by one or more women, veterans, minorities, or members of other qualified disadvantaged groups, you may qualify for certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE.

As a certified minority-owned or disadvantaged small business, you may receive improved visibility during the competitive bidding process with some corporations and government organizations, giving you a leg up on your competition.

Register in Vendor Portals and Find Relevant Bid Opportunities

Large companies and government entities often contract using a competitive bidding process that requires vendors to submit proposals. Finding these bid opportunities or being invited to bid is an important step if you hope to do business with bigger companies.

After you’ve researched the market and located companies you’d like to approach, search online for their vendor registration process. They may have a portal where you can register. There are also bid listing websites and other notification services that can help you in your search.

If you’d like to skip the leg work and get registered across numerous vendor portals at once, check out our ConnXus Platinum Supplier Development Program. We can take your company profile and distribute it across registration portals that you are interested in.    

Emphasize Your Unique Skills and Abilities

Big companies tend to assign contracts for ‘niche’ products and services, which is why it’s important to focus on what differentiates you and your business from your competitors during the bidding process.

Small businesses that consistently win larger contracts tend to be innovative, resourceful, and agile – that can mean thinking ‘outside the box’ when it comes to everything from the products and services you deliver right down to who you approach when seeking a contract.

Polish Your Brand

The smaller your business is, the more intimate the relationship is between you as an owner and the branding of your company – that’s why personal brand development is a critical part of your overall business branding strategy.

Establish yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) in your field by focusing on opportunities like speaking engagements, blog posts, and media appearances that reinforce the fact that you are a thought leader in your specific field. For branding and marketing coaching, check out ConnXus Platinum business development coaches.

Don’t Expect Instant Results

Top-tier companies tend to move slowly when it comes to choosing suppliers – they take their time to vet potential suppliers, develop working relationships with prospects, and conduct their own background checks and research.

Keep this in mind when seeking to do business with bigger companies – it could take months, or even years of work before you win your first big contract. In the meantime, continue to nurture your existing clients, expand your network, and grow your reputation as a small business that can deliver big results.

Consider a Supplier Development Program

The right supplier development program can open doors to the competitive bidding process, giving you access to a network of established, profitable supply chains, corporate portals, and in-depth financials.

ConnXus offers small business owners the opportunity to promote business certifications, access to business coaches, attractive business discounts, and real-time bid opportunities that connect you to Fortune 2000 companies both in the U.S. and abroad.

Start promoting your business today by creating a company profile.