What SMBs Can Learn from DoorDash’s Business Model

DoorDash is an on-demand food delivery company for restaurants. A lot of restaurants want to offer delivery, but the owners do not want to handle all of the logistics that go along with offering the service.

So, DoorDash offers an easy way to allow for delivery from your favorite restaurants.

That’s the first thing small businesses can learn from DoorDash:

Fill a Demand or Solve a Problem in a Niche

Businesses need to do two main things to be successful:

  1. Fill demand. Is there a demand for your product or service?
  2. Solve a problem. Can your product or service solve a problem?

DoorDash isn’t revolutionary, but it does solve a problem in the restaurant industry. DoorDash takes care of all the delivery logistics, and restaurants do what they do best: make food. It’s the perfect pairing, it fills a void and it allows even small restaurants to be able to offer a new way to sell their food.

Find Ways to Scale Your Busy Early On

A lot of companies have tried and failed to offer restaurant delivery. The key issue has been that they have been unable to scale their operations. DoorDash took a page from Uber and has decided to offer a side-gig opportunity.

There are DoorDash driver resources to help users get started, and this means less overhead for DoorDash.

Since people from across the world can drive for the company, it has been very easy to scale. Offer drivers the opportunity to make money, and restaurants see no reason not to offer delivery through DoorDash.

It’s easy to expand when DoorDash makes it easy for drivers to apply and start making money.

Raise Money to Grow Operations

DoorDash is valued at $7.1 billion, and the company has raised $400 million in its most recent round of funding. The funding will allow the company to continue offering its service to more cities and scale their efforts.

But there’s also something interesting: profitability is not the company’s main concern.

Profitability is key for many small businesses, but you can also learn something from DoorDash. Sometimes, profitability comes second to scaling operations. When a company has a large market share, they’re able to demand higher prices, cut back on costs and receive discounts.

Amazon did this very well, and now Amazon can demand discounts and turn billions of dollars in profits annually.

Raise money to expand operations and offerings, and when you’re large enough, you can really focus on profit margins.

DoorDash isn’t perfect, but the company can teach us a lot about how to scale a business. You can learn one last thing from the company: competition is okay. GrubHub already owns a massive market share, and Uber is growing their UberEats operation.

But DoorDash continues to grow, so there’s no reason not to innovate and continue growing operations. Extensive testing of pay models, transparency and consistency has allowed the company to overcome driver dissatisfaction and grow operations.

There is room for more than one big company in a niche, and it can be healthy for business if you can differentiate your operations from others.