Collaborating with other companies
If you have a small business, you can benefit from working with a larger company. One reason may for example be that you want to shorten the time for a development work. Here we give you some advice.
Think about what you need and when?
Create a development plan for your business or your product/service and think about what support or collaboration you need and when you need it.
- Do you want access to knowledge in a specific field of activity
- Do you want to reach many potential customers and partners, or gain access to large networks?
- Do you want to get funding?
- At what stage of your business development do you need the support?
Keep in mind that it is easier to find a business model that benefits both parties outside the core areas of the major company. Therefore, avoid core areas, unless you plan to sell your business to the big company.
It is also important that you before entering a collaboration have inventoried your intangible assets and can show that you have insight and control over them.
Feel free to start by taking the company test Genome Search as a first step towards beginning to take inventory of your intangible assets.
Find the right large company for you
Use business intelligence to find out where companies with just the capacity you need may be available.
- Are there trade fairs or conferences where you can get more information and make contacts?
- Are there digital forums that you can join (crowdsourcing)?
- Are there universities, colleges, research foundations or authorities working in your field and through which you can make contacts? Perhaps there are already established collaborations that you can enter into?
- Contact a business promoter who can help you get in touch with a suitable large company.
Business promoters, tips on actors
Draw up clear rules of the game before the first meeting
Start by setting the rules for the first meeting so that everyone knows what to discuss, what should not be discussed and how information is handled after the meeting. There are available templates that you can use, for example RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden.
RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden (external website)
Use the so-called "black box method". That means that at the first meeting you convey your business idea and what benefits it creates, but not what your solution looks like. At the same time, try to be as concrete as you can and explain how both parties can benefit from the deal. If the large company shows interest in your idea, you can write a letter of intent or a non-disclosure agreement at the next stage.
Sign agreements that address all the different stages and aspects of the collaboration. Also, address how you will communicate with each other and the outside world, such as when and how things should be published.
Agreements on intangible assets
About patents on technical solutions
Some large companies would prefer there to be a patent, or a patent application filed, but it is usually not a must.
It is important to consider the timing of a possible patent application in relation to development status and the collaboration. Feel free to consult a patent attorney.