Disruption is Thesis: Distribution is Currency

Gaurav Marya, Chairman, Franchise IndiaGaurav Marya is a born entrepreneur. who has made huge contribution in various sectors since a young age

I meet close to 100-150 startups every month both in tech and non-tech sectors that have great innovative business models, and undoubtedly I can confirm that disruption is omni-present and an across the industries phenomenon. My observation tells me startups are very innovative and founders are extraordinarily intelligent and talented to see that they could make a difference, yet many of these otherwise disruptive businesses get wiped-out, sometimes often in less than a year.

My understanding is that entrepreneurs are deeply in love with their ideas and working ardently towards achieving 100 per cent perfection; something that leaves them with no time and often no capital to plan their distribution strategy well. What companies forget is that it won’t matter how great their idea is, if they fail to gain any traction. Let’s face it, as an entrepreneur starting a business, one of your main concerns is going to be growth.

The biggest question today is how do entrepreneurs achieve this growth? With disruption, Yes! I feel disruption is an evolution for a new world thesis, but revolution of the disruptive idea is the currency of distribution. A good disruption can only reach out to the world when the right distribution channel backs it. Whether it is a startup or an SME, if the business owner doesn't know how to distribute their product, it is most likely to get lost without many taking note.

The best thing in the world is actually, from the product or service you’re providing to be disrupting that eludes to be bringing more value to the end- consumer than what they’re offered today, which automatically puts you in the good situation. The second step can hence be taken by being great at distribution to let people know that there are new things and there are better things than the ones they are doing now.

For example, creating a better way to clean people's clothes is disrupting it; but if nobody out there knows about it, then there is no point in developing a technology. It is important to know how to marry great innovation with effective distribution and marketing to build powerful and dominating brands in the coming years.

How Do You up Your Distribution?

Interestingly, the best answer that I have got from some startups to win at their game of distribution is cold emailing, SEO, Content Marketing, and Video Content. This could be called a good starting point and would likely help you put the word out about your business. I feel they are more growth hacks than a growth process.

Never aim for 100 per cent product perfection before hitting the market. Most products need to be evolved as per the customer needs

How Do You Intend to Bring a Constant Inflow of Customers?

The only true answer to this question is to confirm that you’ve committed to an agile growth process. Your customer acquisition plan should evolve as you grow. I believe the growth process needs you to address these four areas in order to be able to reach out to your customer

1. Omni-Presence: Are you present across all channels where your customer is? If your customer still plans his/her purchase through offline channel, then you cannot suffice to have your product being sold through Facebook or google or amazon alone. You need to be everywhere your customer is – shopping centres, high streets, exhibitions, events – you need to be aggressive to achieve your growth.

2. Measure Your Channel’s Success: The ultimate goal for each business is to sell their goods and no strategy is ever optimal. You should have your measurement metrics well planned and robustly in place. Create a dashboard to understand where you are getting more sales and where you are still falling behind. Test out each channel a minimum of seven-eight times before you ditch its use case.

3. Build Partnerships: Whether you are a software company or a product company – it is important to build strategic distibtuion partners who can help you reach out to your customer. It could be a reseller, franchisee or just another business whose customers are the same as yours, but in a non-compete product. Those partnerships are beneficial to startup businesses, as each puts its experience and value towards the shared goal.

4. Manage Your Product Development with Distribution:
Never aim for 100 per cent product perfection before hitting the market. Most products need to be eveloved as per the customer needs. If you have got your product 85-90 per cent right, hit the market. But don’t take your eyes off the goal to balance product development with higher sales.