Image courtesy kogancorporate.com
When people focus on their strengths – they achieve superior results. Just ask Kogan co-founder, COO and CFO David Shafer, who in a recent interview with Adam Schwab on his From Zero podcast; spoke about how he and Kogan co-founder Ruslan Kogan were able to actively identify and utilise their strengths, to create Australia’s largest e-commerce business.
Shafer shared how he and Kogan stayed focussed on the business fundamentals to grow Kogan from nothing, to now be valued at more than $1.6billion, in just 15 years.
What the pair do best – what they’ve been focussed on from the start – is making in-demand products more affordable and accessible to Australian consumers.
Their ultimate strength is in circumventing the supply chain to secure better prices for customers.
As Shafer explains, “throughout Kogan’s existence, our fundamental duty has always been to our customer, not to our suppliers. It’s always been about what we can do to engineer a better solution to consumers rather than to do the right thing by other stakeholders in the supply chain.”
They play to their strengths.
They capitalised further on this strength when they added Kogan services to their offerings. What started out as Kogan pre-paid mobile (which at first failed due to the collapse of a 3rd party relationship with Telstra) has since grown to a successful mobile offering directly with Vodafone and a range of ‘essential’ services including Kogan insurance, internet, energy, credit card, cars, super, and money.
In providing these services, Kogan partners directly with providers who own the assets – such as Vodafone in the example of Kogan Mobile – to own the counter-party agreement with the customer. By acting as the franchisee or broker of services; Kogan wear minimal risk and remain focussed on doing what they do best – branding, customer generation, marketing and negotiating great deals for customers, whilst allowing the service provider they’ve partnered with, to play to their strengths – delivering their service.
Schafer and Ruslin are two business leaders who’ve successfully leveraged their strengths as retailers and deal-makers to disrupt the Australian e-commerce model and capitalise on market opportunities.
As it happens, doing what they do best also happens to be doing what they love. When asked by Adam Schwab how they maintain the energy to continue since the business has been a huge success, it all comes down to enjoyment. “We love the business – we love the challenges of doing what we’re doing. We’re still asking how can we deliver more value? What else can we do differently? Where else is there an opportunity to make asymmetric bets?”
What their story highlights for me, is that leveraging your strengths is looking for the Venn of three circles – what creates value; what you’re good at; and what you love. When these three things come together, you’re on a winning bet.