Growing Your Business One Shipment at a Time
The challenges of running a small or midsize business can be exhilarating. They can also keep you up at night. Ensuring orders get to your customers, and their customers, quickly is one of the critical tasks you must manage in today’s competitive and fast-paced economy. Whether you’re shipping parcels or pallets, it’s all about streamlining operations and keeping your costs in check. How you ship can have a direct impact on your bottom line. Providing an efficient shipping experience is important for turning one-time customers into repeat clients.
But how can you be sure you’re getting the best shipping services for you and your customers? Fortunately there are great resources available to help you as a small or midsize business owner understand your options, conserve cash and navigate shipping regulations. That way, you can concentrate on what matters most: growing your business.
Here are some tips to help you keep your business wheels in motion without the need to focus solely on moving your goods from point A to point B.
Remove the guesswork
One of the biggest issues business owners face is guessing the size, weight and shipping costs of their goods. This is especially true when you are not actually doing the shipping yourself, but are relying on someone else to get a last-minute order into the hands of your customer. The result is that businesses often over-pay the cost of shipping just to ensure it gets to its destination on time. The only real way to remove the guesswork is to compare costs and research all possible shipping methods appropriate to your business needs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Do your due diligence
Most major shipping organizations provide easy-to-use online tools to help you assess your shipping options based on business size, industry and whether your goods need to ship domestically or internationally, or both. The various shipping organizations also offer consultations with specialists who are available to small or midsize business owners to ensure your business requirements are appropriately met.
If you regularly ship in bulk, explore the options associated with freight transportation. If you can’t fill a truckload, consider Less Than Truckload to transport shipments typically ranging from 100 pounds to 20,000 pounds. If the costs are too high for your business, inquire about consolidating your freight with shiploads from other businesses to cut costs.
Use shipping to speed up cash flow
“The quicker you can confirm delivery, the faster you can bill your customers,” suggests Beth Matthews, small business marketing manager for UPS®. Choose a transportation partner that offers easily-accessible notification tools.
Communicate your shipping policies
A critical step to ensuring the ongoing cost efficiency of your shipping operations is to set up and communicate shipping policies internally. This way everyone in the organization is clear on which shipping method to use and when. Likewise, be sure to let your customers know what your standard shipping policies are so that you are prepared to handle the unexpected.
While you showcase your product and penetrate new markets, your shipping partner should be there to take care of the heavy lifting.