At CCAW, to expand our distribution, we partnered with companies that had underutilized warehouse infrastructure and wanted to optimize it to get a better return on their investment. Using other companies’ warehouses, we could add a new distribution point in a matter of days, so we scaled our distribution network rapidly and could reach any consumer’s home in one or two days. With technology, we overcame lots of logistical challenges, which I I won’t get into. I still love this concept. I think it’s applicable in many other areas.
I learned about a company planning to build a national restaurant brand using this approach. No more building out locations or franchising. This brand hopes to leverage, through technology, existing restaurant infrastructure that’s not fully utilized. I’m not sure if it will work, but I like the thought process.
Some companies have become big winners by solving problems for customers using others’ underutilized assets. For example, Uber and Lyft got their start when their founders noticed how many cars on the highway had only one occupant (i.e., lots of empty seats). I think that technology will accelerate this trend. We will see more companies leveraging existing assets and building large businesses in the process.
If you’re a founder looking to solve a problem but don’t have the assets, consider using some else’s.