Selling Technology to Small Business

written by bethburgee on November 1, 2012 in Under The Radar with no comments
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Jeffery Calkins, VP of Operations at Rudy’s Barbershop shared some insights on what it takes to develop a partnership. Jeffery will be a Judge at Under the Radar - just a few weeks away!

What is the number one thing you look for in a startup when considering a partnership?
A willing, active, partner who will take that smart risk with me, I’m not asking you to customize your solution to fit ONLY my needs but I want you to listen and either provide options, or other partners who seamlessly integrate with your system.

What trends are most exciting to Rudy’s Barbershop right now?
Everything is mobile, everyone is offering a mobile checkout, everyone is signing into their accounts with their FB profiles, and we’re getting to the point where everything is starting to link up. I can’t wait to see how the next two years shape up.

What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to partner with you?
Listen and take the time to understand our workflow. Customer input and feedback is free advice.  Many small companies are willing to collaborate, take advantage of that.

How many partnerships do you do in a typical year?
Over the past year we’ve worked on roughly ten partnerships. These partnerships range from systems that assist us in scaling growth, complement existing operations, or partnerships that support our local or global communities.

What is the criteria for the stage of company you will look at partnering with? (how young can they typically be?)
Ideally, we would like to know you have money in the bank and a growing client list, but more importantly we like CEOs and teams that have failed miserably. Failing forward fast is very valuable…. It’s all about the recovery, that knowledge is priceless.

What does a typical partnership look like with a startup?
Gathering information about each other’s business, figuring out how the partnership is going to improve existing operations, sitting down and going over expectations, building the partnership, testing, deploying, continual hyper critical evaluation, tweaking, taking it to the next level, scaling with our growth, rinse and repeat.

How would you recommend startups reach out to you?
Most have started with just a phone call, they have to be persistent as we’re growing and supporting a lot up here. The startup has to know something about us and be able to sell the benefits of their product to us. You can tell pretty quickly if it’s right or not.

How can startups better understand the types of partnership opportunities available with Rudy’s Barbershop?
Look at our history, know our current partners, and visit our website. Come in and get a haircut, how was the experience? What did they notice? What could they improve, complement or grow with their offerings?  There are a ton of opportunities for a startup to partner with us, they just have to make it worth the time and investment.