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Alex Shevelenko
Content thumbnail Guide to Breaking into the Enterprise Market

How Startups Can Land a Big- Fish Client— Without Missing the Other Fish in the Sea The story of early-stage startups selling to global titans can sometimes read like Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea: The unlucky ifsherman Santiago returns to port exhausted atfer battling a huge marlin, with almost nothing to show for his efforts. If you’re a lfedgling sotfware startup catering to businesses, landing a “big ifsh” customer can be similarly frustrating. Snaring that customer isn’t just a huge feat for your company—in the early days, it can be everything. That ifrst large customer brings your startup much-needed credibility that can help lure future customers and new investors. Perhaps even more important, the big-ifsh deal likely provides crucial revenue and cash lfow your young company desperately needs. Given how important such partnerships are, it’s tempting—and otfen expected—for early-stage startups to focus on just a few critical customers, at least in the early days, and customize products for them. 12

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