In real estate, location is king. Location, location, location, right? The equivalent on the internet is distribution. distribution, distribution. Distribution means taking a feature of your product and integrating it on a partner’s website or app.
If you build it, they won’t come.
A lot of entrepreneurs have the mentality, that if you build a great product, in a big ass market, it will automatically achieve critical mass. Wrong. The UI/UX could be killer and it can have all the right viral hooks in it, but without major strategic alliances or key distribution partners, the time to hitting that critical mass is tremendously longer.
Distribution is one of the unspoken keys to consumer web startup success. It’s largely based on social capital. Make a target list of your ideal potential partners and make it a goal to friend the key people there.
That means, you need to be regularly flying out to hang out with these people. Not just for formal meetings and conferences, but to develop deep friendships over drinks and real experiences. Be genuine with them and connect with them on a deep level. Don’t sell them on your startup the first time you meet them. People do deals with people they feel comfortable with and it’s unlikely you’ll do a deal after a cold call and a first meeting.
How you do it.
Over time, your target partners will learn what exactly your raison d’etre is. After all, you should be oozing your authentic passion for the problem your are solving. Once you’ve built the trust, position your startup as a value add for your target partners. Every startup wants to create as much value for it’s user base as possible. Sell them on the fact that an integration would add value for its user base, so it’s a no brainer because it makes their startup more valuable (and after all, we are all just trying to create as much value in the shortest amount of time).
Step 1: Make a list of target partners
Step 2: Shmooze your way into this circle
Step 3: Prove value add for their userbases
Step 4: #win