I know a lot of people who want to work with the big accounts. Whether it’s a financial advisor who wants to start off by advising the latest athlete to sign a multi-million dollar contract or the sales person who is only interested in selling to General Electric or the State of California, they all are ready to give gold key service to people at the top, if they could just get in the door.
Here is where Microsoft gets it right. We are a small company, but we’ve been growing steadily. Last year, after I met the folks from Microsoft at ISTE, I followed up and asked about the new Windows 10S operating system and getting in the Microsoft Store. You might have thought they would have blown us off, but nothing could be further from the truth. They were SUPER helpful in explaining everything we needed to do to get our games to meet their requirements and you can … drum roll please!
Which you have to agree, is totally awesome. What Microsoft gets right is they work well with the little companies so that as they grow, they WANT to be Microsoft partners. I thought perhaps we were just lucky meeting up with some good engineers and managers on our first try, but recently, when Strong Mind Studios, our Latin American arm of 7 Generation Games (you can check our site in Spanish here) contacted Microsoft Chile and asked them to come to and introduce the companies at an Ed Tech Demo Day we are co-hosting, they replied, “We’d be delighted.” Actually, he said, “Estaría encantado.” but you get the idea.
Again, here are a handful of small start-ups asking you to send someone for a couple of hours in the evening and do introductions in your second language (because this event happens to be in English, although we have bilingual staff at every demo table, so if you are in Santiago on May 24, register, for free, and come on down).
Everyone of those start-ups was impressed, and you better believe Microsoft picked up some credibility when it wants to partner with any of those companies in the future.
Contrast this with a lot of other experiences I have had. Many people have been dismissive of our company and our ideas, telling me we’re not going to sell games, our artwork isn’t good enough, our marketing plan is all wrong. I’ve been hearing for four years now that 97% of start-ups die or whatever crazy number you want to throw out, but we’re still here.
I’m not sure what they are hoping to accomplish by this but I can guarantee you that when we are that big account, we will be working with Microsoft because we already are. This is what Microsoft gets right – start working with the small companies so that when they’ve grown, you’ve got the big account.
It was so negative this week that my lovely daughter, Ronda, chimed in to remind me,
“Remember, Mom, you didn’t get into this business for compliments. You’re in it to help kids learn.”
On the other hand, there have been two positive companies I met with this week. One is interested in licensing our software and the other simply chimed up in a meeting and said, “You will succeed, because you’re good at this.”
The funny thing about this is that it takes very little effort to gain customer loyalty – a couple of hours of your time, sharing some code, just being more positive than negative.
“Be kind to people on your way up because they’ll catch you if you start to fall.”
Sounds like advice from mom, well, it is, but it’s also good advice for keeping customers and business partners.