When Should I Invest in International Shipping?
Any small business is on a path of growth – or at least it should be. Growth – or being orientated towards growth – is essential for all small businesses. The alternative is not, as many think, simply going along at the current level of operations. Instead, it is company collapse. Growth is important.
However, that path towards growth is not a linear ascent. Instead, you find it is made up of various checkpoints and, as you pass each one, you’ll find that things take a notable jump up. This is to be expected when you consider that each of these checkpoints along the path of growth normally follows an investment.
Your orders increase to the point where you can no longer handle fulfilment in-house, for example. You make an investment in order to outsource this, and suddenly you can handle significantly more inventory and ship it to more people and further away. With this one investment you have taken that leap up along the uneven path of growth.
Growth and Fulfilment
And order fulfilment is a good example to take when illustrating this phenomenon, simply because it is a path of growth which is made up of several such investments as your company’s reach gets wider and wider. Taking the step up towards outsourced fulfilment is the first step, the next one is to go international, to start shipping globally and to deliver your products all over the world.
This second stage in the development of your fulfilment strategy is certainly when things are getting serious. If you are shipping internationally, this not only scales up your business significantly, but it also signals to all observers that your business is on the right track. It will make a very good impression on potential customers when they see that your company is now shipping internationally.
It’s a wise thing to do, but when should you actually do it?
When to Go Global
Generally speaking, the moment to make any growth-promoting investment is when you have the funds to make the investment. But of course, it can be a bit more complicated than that, and especially so in the arena of order fulfilment.
For example, you need to make sure that your current fulfilment strategy is suitable right now. If it isn’t, you might need to fix that before you invest in international shipping. A good third-party fulfilment strategy should be shipping your goods efficiently, speedily, and perhaps most importantly, safely.
Tie down manufacturers Rollercam say that a good fulfilment service should be shipping your goods in secure transportation with electronic tagging and tracking. The goods should be secured with buckle straps, tie-down straps, or whatever security apparatus is appropriate.
If you can ensure all of this, then you know that improvement lies in the direction of new investment, not in fixing issues with your current fulfilment service. At that point, it becomes more about having enough money to actually make the investment – and enough inventory to ship to a much wider customer base.
Of course, the situation can be a bit of a chicken and egg. One the one hand, increased inventory could prompt new investment in fulfilment; on the other hand, scaling things up to international shipping could be part of a global reach strategy which also necessitates investment in more inventory.
In other words, the two go hand in hand, which is just as well because both are serious benefits to your company. They are also a loud and clear indication to all observers that you are on your way, and that they’ll be seeing your brand around more and more.