Over the past five decades or so, the process of how items are shipped by businesses hasn’t changed very much. It’s one area of business where technology has had a limited impact; there might be a few system changes in terms of how parcels are processed and tracked, but that is about it when it comes to technological changes.
50 years ago, shipping of products was seen as a luxury, and it was a service that tended to be reserved for the higher classes, as it didn’t come cheap. Today, however, thanks to the internet and much wider competition, it has become much more affordable. Each year, more and more companies (and individuals) use shipping services, like Amazon, which made over $5 billion in 2015 from shipping alone.
There is no getting away from the fact that the shipping industry is a highly lucrative one and one that has a lot of potential for success. Bearing that in mind, it’s no wonder that so many entrepreneurs are going into the shipping industry each year. Of course, like all sectors, there is plenty of competition, which is why it is so important to ensure that you know what it takes to make a success of running a shipping business.
If shipping is where your passion lies, below are a few suggestions for ways that you can boost your chances of success by streamlining your services and offering the best customer service possible. For everything that you need to know, read on!
Specialise your services
Within the shipping industry, there are multiple different categories, these include everything from hazardous goods and perishables to paperwork and clothing. With there being so many different sectors within the shipping industry, it is a good idea to select one sector to specialize in and stick to it. Take your time to research the different categories and determine which one (or ones) could be the best fit for your business. While some companies do choose to work in more than one area, it’s important to take into account the size of your business and the capabilities that you have as a startup. You don’t want to run before you can walk, as otherwise, you could end up struggling to keep up with the demand for different services, which is why it’s a good idea to choose an area to specialise in and stick to it. As part of how you specialise, it’s also vital to determine which kinds of other companies you will need to partner up with, such as for services like 3pl warehousing, for instance. You can’t do everything in-house, which is why it’s vital to think carefully about what services you want to provide, and which of these you will outsource instead of dealing with them yourself.
Take paperwork seriously
For your business to be able to operate, you need to take the paperwork seriously. The fact is that running a business is about being organised – if you want your business to be streamlined and run without a hitch, being organised about how you run your business is vital. Paperwork is vital because it’s not only a key management tool, but it can also be a crucial part of staying within the law. The fact is that various permits are required for transporting goods, which is why it’s so vital not to skip paperwork and always take every piece seriously. It is also vital that you take the time to research the documentation that you need to have to ensure that your business is operating legally – after all, the last thing that you want is to be slapped with a huge fine or worse. That’s why it is so crucial that you take paperwork seriously from the start. Otherwise, you may live to regret it.
Refer to your business plan
When it comes to running any business, a business plan is a key tool and isn’t something that you should consider operating without. The fact is that a business plan is a tool that every business needs to succeed because without it, your business will lack strategy and you will find it much harder to achieve your goals, especially as you won’t have any business goals set out. A good business plan should detail what your business offers, how it will run, and what your short and long-term goals are, as well as the steps that you will need to take to meet them. A business plan is not only vital when it comes to streamlining your processes, but also for partnerships with other brands and potential investors. If you don’t already have a business plan, it is recommended that you create one as soon as possible. Need help creating your business plan? Why not work with a business mentor – something from the shipping industry who has been where you are and made a success of their venture – who can help you to grow your business and ensure each of your targets are met.
Hire a skilled team
The team of employees behind your business are at the heart of your services, which is why it is so vital to ensure that you have a strong and reliable team behind you. If you don’t have a strong team of employees behind you who are passionate about what they do and reliable, you may struggle to ensure that your business is run properly. The fact is that it’s your workers that make up the machine that runs your business, which is why it is so vital to ensure that you have a team that works hard and efficiently at all times. When it comes to selecting your employees, it is vital that you are smart about who you pick and how you train your team members, to ensure that your customers always receive the best customer service and care possible. The overall aim of any business is to have happy customers and to achieve this goal, a reliable and friendly team of employees is vital. You don’t want team members on board who aren’t polite and don’t know how to deal with customers in the right way, which is why it’s important to be selective about who you hire. Just remember, your team members reflect your business, which is why it is so vital to be selective about who you hire.
Prepare your business premises
To ensure that your business premises is a good fit for your business, it pays to think carefully about what you need. Your business premises is what allows you to offer the very highest levels of customer care, which is why preparing your business premises properly is so important. It’s not just a case of choosing the right building in the ideal location; it’s also about the equipment that you have in place there. You want your business premises to create the right first impression of your business – you want it to be somewhere that is smart and professional. This is especially important if it is somewhere where you will meet with clients and potential clients to discuss their ongoing needs. Your business premises will also need to be furnished with all of the right equipment, from a reliable fax machine and good internet connection to an efficient finance system. Want to ensure that your business has what it needs to succeed? Yes – then it’s vital to make sure that your business premises has everything that is needed to effectively run a streamlined business.
Develop your brand
Want to ensure that your business succeeds? Of course, you do! Then you need to understand how to develop your brand. The fact is that the shipping industry is a highly competitive one, which means that if you want to succeed, you need to know how to develop your brand. You need to work out how to put your brand in front of your clients – aka what marketing methods are the best to use – and how you can encourage people to use your services rather than the services of your competitors. Building a brand around your business isn’t always an easy task, but with the right marketing methods in place, it is doable. A key marketing resource is a business website – if you don’t already have one, now is the time to get one made. The fact is that a good business website is a tool that can significantly increase your business’s success, which is why it’s so important to make sure that your website is up to scratch. It should be well designed, SEO optimised, and contain plenty of valuable content. Regardless of the industry that you are in, a well-designed website is a vital resource for developing your brand.
So there you have it, a guide to everything that you need to know to streamline your shipping business’s processes, and ensuring that your business is a success. To give your business every chance of success, it’s important to take note of the advice above and implement it in how you run your shipping business.