Originally posted on Forbes by Rhonesha Byng, featuring Lily Doxy

For many new businesses with big dreams, and limited funds, the holy grail and key to making their dreams come to life lies in landing a sponsor.

The barrier to entry, however, is high especially for businesses with no track record, or clear value proposition. But there is a pathway to progress, as outlined during a recent panel discussion hosted by C-Suite Coach during their holiday party. Gene C. Waddy, CEO of Diversant LLC an IT staffing company, Amina Cush events manager at Oscar Health, and Lily Doxy, Marketing Manager Verizon.

“Stop chasing logos and do your research,” explained Waddy.

Below learn more about their three tips for positioning yourself as a partner, or acquiring a sponsor for your next business initiative.

1 – Identify And Quantify Your Value Proposition

If you’re looking to do events, host a few out of pocket and test the waters to see if you can draw a crowd, and who makes up that crowd. Don’t just do something for the sake of doing it, think data, data, data. What are the ages of those who came, where did they come from, what is their average household income? Find creative ways to capture and quantify this data and validate that the audience you’re targeting is the audience who responds and shows up.

2- Do Your Research

“The first thing is doing your homework. It’s understanding the audience that business is trying to go after,” Cush explained.

Once you do your research and narrow your search down to companies that align with your audience, you need to do the due diligence to understand where their gaps are and how your company can help them fill it.


3- Make Sure It Fits

“Business is different than consumer. I can’t host a pajama party, while you might own a small business that’s not the reason you’re coming,” explained Doxy who is at Verizon.

Doxy shares she often gets a lot of inquiries for entrepreneurs who simply want the Verizon logo on their brand, but her focus is on small businesses exclusively. So she recommends that before you even send out anything, research research research. Don’t send somebody something that doesn’t fit, and try to make it fit. You need to find a company that aligns with what your mission is and what you’re actually aiming to do.

Waddy adds, from his experience the first thing is figuring out what someone would be willing to pay you for. For him, it was IT. But even in acquiring Fortune 1000 clients, he did the work and did the research. “I didn’t just walk up to the front door of Verizon and say wheres my contract? You have to study your target.”

He found what Verizon was missing was a Black-owned IT company that had the capabilities to scale. And that’s what he proposed to them. “You can’t chase the logo, its really about studying and understanding there are some clients that are a fit and some that are not. You have to know that before you spend your time chasing.”

4- Don’t Be Afraid To Bend The Rules

When Doxy first came on as an event manager at Verizon, she found that while the company was dominating trade shows and other standard events, for Verizon hosted events they couldn’t get more than three people to show up. That was the case until Doxy decided to take things into her own hands and do the event her way.

“Going to trade shows doesn’t always work because small businesses typically don’t have time to go to a trade show,” Doxy explained.

“Almost every major company is looking to touch small business in some way because they finally realize that small business is a big market that a lot of people haven’t touched. So for us, we need to find a creative way to talk to small businesses.”

Doxy decided to tap a small business owner who was an influencer and had the trust and relationships with small business owners she knew Verizon was looking to target and the rest was history.