Startup eSeries: Empower Your Consumer First - Common Sense Living Newsletter
Common Sense Living India

Startup eSeries: Empower Your Consumer First

Aug 22, 2015


There's this interesting post doing the rounds on Facebook, and I don't know who put it together, but its message is invaluable. Here's what it says:

Uber, the world's largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world's most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.

Something interesting is indeed happening in the world of business, and particularly entrepreneurship.

A growing breed of innovators and businessmen refuses to let assets ­- or the lack of them - prevent them from creating value. They realise that owning a business is not about having X number of crores to invest or having enough backward integration for it to be a success.

They realise that the true wealth of an enterprise is its ability to scale up and impact a multitude of lives. More importantly, they realize they can't do that through monopoly or centralization. It's now about allowing customers to be a part of the company's journey.

Empowerment is at the heart of these modern businesses. They allow us to share honest reviews without fear, take a cab that our friends and family can track, conduct business with suppliers and buyers around the world, travel anywhere and find unique and affordable accommodation.   

When empowerment drives business, the results are huge.

Now, empowerment has always been the driving force behind successful businesses. But before, businesses had only enough reach to impact a handful of customers. Today's tech-driven businesses, however, have the potential to empower exponentially.

And the world is coming out to support them... sometimes as we've seen with the Tata Opportunity Fund, with millions of dollars. The private equity arm of Tata Group has invested an undisclosed sum, an estimated 80­­-100 million dollars, in Uber's India operations.

Source: phoenixman / Shutterstock

"Don't start a business. Start a movement."

We hear it so much it's becoming trite, but movements transform the way people live and think. Movements have followers (a "tribe"). Movements are about empowerment.

Perhaps I'm too optimistic, too idealistic. Maybe I see through rose-tinted glasses. But I believe, in this new world of business, the best and successful companies will focus on well-being, not bottomlines.

Companies that survive and thrive will be in the business of helping people survive and thrive too.

If the goal of a business is to serve and uplift the consumer, everything else will fall into place. The inventory will show up... the taxi drivers will be friendly... the content will attract followers...

The role of business, then, is to create, maintain, and grow ecosystems. And for an ecosystem to flourish, it must encourage the growth of its members.

Few entrepreneurs know this better than Alibaba Group founder and chairman, Jack Ma Yun, whose focus on growing small businesses has been at the heart of Alibaba's success. In this article he says, "The opportunity and strategy for us is helping small business in America go to China, sell their products in China. We need more American products in China. We have ... 100 million people coming to buy everyday."

Thus, the success of new enterprises lies in the fact that they don't just create mere stakeholders, but equally empowered participants who also benefit from every growth phase of the venture.

For example, Facebook helps members create content, and it built an app to help members manage their pages.

Zomato and BookMyShow allow users to securely rate and review restaurants and events. Flipkart, OLX or eBay and many other platforms allow users to buy, sell, deliver, and receive with ease.

The most intriguing, and admirable, aspect of new enterprises is that they encourage their customers to take ownership of the business and participate in product creation and evolution.

Wittingly or not, today's consumer takes an active part in enterprise. They help entrepreneurs build and sustain their vision.

This is because the consumer truly feels they're part of the company's ecosystem, a concept that has completely changed the way companies view "shared wealth".

The "shared wealth" of any enterprise is no longer defined by how much a consumer or stakeholder makes from an enterprise or product, but by the experience of active involvement in the brand's service or product.

Benefits are no longer monetary, but experiential. It's all about UX - user experience.

Successful enterprises realise that they can enhance user experience if they involve the consumer in the growth of the brand - that is, when the business serves and empowers the user in a unique way.

New-age innovators have internalised this truth and know that any additional asset is merely incidental. They changed the age-old concept of "shared wealth" into "experienced wealth" and in the process created "empowered wealth".

Empowered wealth comes not from fixed assets, collaterals, and net worth. Rather, it is wealth that emerges from consumer empowerment. Indeed, from the empowerment of all of society.  

Entrepreneurs take note: Serving the customer doesn't cut it anymore. And in the new economy, you don't even need assets. Now, you must provide an ecosystem that empowers users to take part in the growth of an enterprise. That's how you create wealth. That's how you change the world.


We request your view! Post a comment on "Startup eSeries: Empower Your Consumer First". Click here!

11 Responses to "Startup eSeries: Empower Your Consumer First"

aditya sonthalia

01 Sep, 2015

very interesting thought and am in agreement . growth comes from beyond and reaching that beyond is creativity and compassion and entwinig the two makes you achieve further strastpheres enabling you to keep on soaring...

Like (1)

Raghunathan K

27 Aug, 2015

It is interesting to speculate what happens if this is applied to education!

Like (1)


26 Aug, 2015

Hi Ritika you and your team at commonsense living empower us your readers with a wealth of wisdom and in many ways are co creaters in shaping thought process and destinies.thanks and May your tribe increase.cheers

Like (1)

S S Sahrawaty

25 Aug, 2015

Congrats to Ritika for writing on an idea that has the potential to open the doors to a new world of good business. Request follow it up by publishing examples of such good businesses Regards

Like (1)

Terence Verma

24 Aug, 2015

Positive experiences empower people. And, an empowered mind is akin to a business owner mindset...a prerequisite to upscale, to build networks.


23 Aug, 2015

Help me understand the concept of "shared wealth", "experienced wealth" and "empowered wealth".

Like (1)

Mukesh c jha

23 Aug, 2015

Empowerment is the Greatest Wealth Sharing process.Awesome attcle .

Like (1)

Mohan Bharadwaj

23 Aug, 2015

simply gr8! i always held that to be a success in business, money is the last thing you require and it is available aplenty for the truly deserving one. i do my own business of technical consultancy on these lines only but always felt an odd-man-out in discussions with people. the concept and the ideas written here were vaguely there in my mind but you have cleared the mist around. your article should create more entrepreneurs than anything else. thanx a lot.

Like (2)


23 Aug, 2015

May it is time to understand whether using cover of "Empowering consumers", they are working on the plan to become a monopoly to get advantage of customer behavior? Take Uber, not want to be bothered with passenger(customer) safety, while still wants to build its brand

ganesh shenoy

23 Aug, 2015

excellent delivery of a fine concept. Congrats.

Like (1)


23 Aug, 2015

Ritika your letters always gives me different outlook about the things happening around us. i article have different appproach

Like (1)

Sign up for a wealth of Common Sense Living ideas delivered to your Inbox for free every week.