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Start Small

A CEO we are working with asked me today about how large a deal she should look to do with an agricultural foundation that could become a big partner. As her company’s technology solves a major problem for them, she was aware that there was the potential to do a big initial deal but her instinct was to start small.  

I think she was very right.  We had a situation with another company for which we had opened a discussion with one of the largest surface materials companies in the world. We started by talking to one division, but other divisions within the company got wind of the technology and wanted to broaden the scope and raise the budget of the initial engagement.

Potentially very encouraging news, but as the scope widened, more stakeholders would be needed to approve the project and it would need to be synchronized with the work plans of more departments. What had been lined up as something relatively clean and straightforward was getting unwieldy and looking less and less likely to actually happen.

In the end, we were able to get back to the scope we had originally wanted ­– a modest project that could be both readily signed off and quickly executed. With the data generated from that first project, the internal champion we had nurtured within the company was in a much stronger position to set up larger projects for our client.