The article interviews a number of small business owners, mainly agencies, professional and support services, who have been successful in winning new business with major corporates, and surviving the process!
For me, a couple of key take-aways from the article are the need to avoid getting locked-in too low within major accounts (which can both keep you positioned as a low-level supplier and expose you to risk when your contact leaves), plus the importance of choosing the right clients in the first instance:
"Working successfully with big players also means being prepared to turn down work that doesn't meet the plans and aspirations of your own business"
I couldn't agree more with this last statement. Investing time to identify the right clients for where you want to take your business is critical. I find that whilst our clients get a lot of their current work by referral or other word-of-mouth sources, this may not be the right strategic fit to grow their business.
Where we add value is by targeting specific companies, usually major corporates, that meet our clients' growth aspirations. This sets up a new business pipeline that both builds on and augments your usual work portfolio, setting a trajectory for future growth.