Distribution is God in India | #DailyBlink25
I came across a distributor today, he was going shop to shop to sell his product at a wholesale price. He was selling a rubber band. I was interested to know about his company, hence out of curiosity went to him and asked for his business card so that I can visit their factory later on. But to my surprise, he seems pissed off. The first thing that comes to my mind was “This is what multiple refusals do to you, it not easy to sell your product door to door in the hope that it will be sold out till the end of the day”. I was trying to empathize that’s it. I get to see multiple examples of this while traveling on local trains.
I overheard him saying to one of his co-member accompanying him “Does he even have a shop? Uggh, avoid it, let’s go”. But I somehow managed to get their card in the hope that I will go and visit them in future.
India’s Distribution Channel.
India is a land of multi-layered distribution networks hence makes it very difficult for brands in India. You wouldn’t find a uniform distribution that eases the penetration of your product.
Tim Cook once cited India’s multi-layered distribution as the main reason for his company’s small share of the market.
Even, most entrepreneurs find it tough to reach Indian consumers because of thousands of small vendors that are responsible for handling the last mile in the delivery chain.
Building Distributing Model in India
David Semerad says, “Whether it be social media campaigns, a solid organic growth strategy (including app store optimization), or carefully picked influencers, finding the right distribution channels is basically a lot of trial and error. This can be boring and frustrating, but this is your product’s lifeline and needs to be constantly nourished.
It’s tempting, especially for those who are new to the startup scene, to focus 100% of your efforts on developing a minimum viable product (MVP) and worry about nailing down distribution channels later.”
The aspiring entrepreneurs in our country need to learn about the distribution model and its various depending factors. Most of them do not seem to spend enough time in it and assume, a good product is enough to make a difference in the lives of their customers. But it is not possible until your product reaches your end customer.
Vijay Shekar Sharma recently said in TechSpark 2019,
“ In India, it is particularly tough being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is looked down upon, unlike in the US. We are just above Africa markets in terms of per capita income. We have to build a business model for that. Then there are many rules and regulations, sentiments, behavior.
You have to be far more Zen to survive in this country. As I said, if you build in India, you can go build anywhere in the world. What do you think is the first thing an Indian kid learns? That the bus stop is not where the bus will stop.”
This is where you have to keep playing, learning, and building your game with all the unexpected nuances you face while building a new company in India. Paytm is an inspiration for an entrepreneur like me. Building a company that is based on economic transactions is really tough in India especially when it is the most sensitive thing that is being discussed in every middle-class family.
But startups like Paytm, Freecharge, PhonePe, Bhim, Google Pay has changed the face of online money transaction in India.
Inspite of all the challenges, I’m very hopeful about the coming years. A lot has changed in the last 10 years around the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our country.
Message for the young entrepreneurs
Remember, being a young team, it’s really hard to define the whole scope of work of your startup. You will discover a lot of new additions on the way and panicking is quite normal. You will succeed, you will fail, sometimes fail badly but most importantly you will take a note of it and if you are doing that, you are winning everyday in case none has told you this before.