Are you using distribution and partnerships as significant growth levers?

How much are distribution and partnerships part of how you think about growth?

I’m reminded of the early days of Starbucks.

Product and experience were/are a big part of their success.

In its early days, Starbucks also strategically leveraged distribution and partnerships to fuel its growth, a key factor in its expansion to over 38,000 stores.

Here are some things they did before they had 2,000 stores:
– Selling bags of coffee at Costco
– Partnering with United Airlines to feature their coffee for in-flight service
– Opening stores inside of Barnes and Noble
– Partnering with Pepsi to sell bottled Frappuccinos in grocery

Some of the items above were used before they even had 500 stores.

All of them were done before 1997.

In 1998, they went into grocery stores and so on.

While there was a revenue and profit component to these deals, the more critical piece was how it helped build the brand in terms of awareness and consideration.

Founder Howard Schultz has said as much.

This helped create a reinforcing loop back to their brand and stores (traffic).

One of the best parts for many businesses is that this type of work often scales on top of their existing business without significant investments in capital or other resources.

So, as you continue to work through where/how to grow, continue to factor distribution and partnership into the mix.