National Incubation Center

The Business Model Canvas Series- Part 4 Determining the right distribution channels for your business

Welcome to yet another exciting part of our Business Model Canvas Series. Till now, we have had a look at some key building blocks for a startup. I would recommend you to take a quick recap on building your Value Proposition, defining customer personas, and managing customer relationships before we dig into the next critical component for a startup which is determining the right mix of Distribution Channels to connect your product to your customer.

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected through the online channel. Businesses today cannot solely rely on physical channels to connect their product to potential customers. While this might not make sense for some businesses, however adopting a hybrid distribution strategy which involves using a mix of online and offline channels, can greatly increase the visibility for a business and help connect to a wider audience.

The online or web channel greatly reduces the barrier to entry for a startup- with minimum upfront cost, it is easy to set up a social media page and start selling. However, determining the right mix of online channels is critical for a startup. Setting up your own dedicated E-Commerce store will help you build your brand. Using third party platforms like and, will give greater visibility to your brand, and help you move those boxes (volume sales). As a business, you need to find the right mix between Box and Brand.

While most startups today are using the virtual channel to sell their product, many traditional businesses, previously selling through brick-and-mortar stores are moving towards a brick-and-click model. Changing consumer buying behavior has forced many businesses to adopt a hybrid approach, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition towards digital buying faster than the world had anticipated. As a startup, you might consider selling through offline channels if it makes sense for your business, and complement it with digital marketing to drive customers to your physical channel. Keep an eye on what competitors are doing and what the key local and global trends are for the industry you are operating in. There are no rights and wrongs as far the distribution strategy for your startup is concerned. However, a well-thought-out strategy with the right mix of different channels to connect to potential customers is really the recipe to brand building and achieving that sales curve for your startup.

A startup’s journey is all about validating hypothesis and making research-backed decisions to avoid failure. As an entrepreneur, you want a steep learning curve so you can move fast forward towards revenue and profit generation. The building blocks, so far discussed in our BMC series, all help a founder lay solid foundation for his/her startup, so they can quickly gain traction in the market. What can be the different streams through which a startup can earn revenue, once it starts selling? Stay tuned for our next article to find out.


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