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Six things we learnt from growing a business

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Staff numbers have increased eightfold since the company was launched.  Here, Paul Galpin, discusses how this growth was achieved and offers some top tips for starting a successful business.

Offer something different

When P2P was founded in 2009, there was a gap in the market for truly independent companies offering distribution solutions. Many of these companies had been acquired by Integrators or other Postal Authorities, which have a biased agenda when recommending solutions. 

We saw an opportunity to better represent the needs of the customer when designing distribution solutions. Our philosophy is built around impartiality and objectivity; we select the optimum mix of vendors for any given customer enabling us to be as competitive as possible.

If you’re setting up a new business it’s important to be clear exactly what you’re offering and what makes you stand out from the competition. You then need to relate this to your potential customers and be able to explain clearly how your offering will benefit them.

Develop a business plan around a market that shows sustainable and dynamic growth

P2P had a plan to work within the eCommerce sector as it offered the best opportunity for us to put our knowledge and expertise to good use. In addition, it was one of the few sectors demonstrating sustainable and dynamic growth at the time.

Of course any new business launch comes with risks, but these will be significantly reduced if you are operating in an area that you are familiar with. Likewise, no one can predict the future, but it’s advisable to fully research the sector that you will be operating in to get an idea of whether it is experiencing growth, and if this is likely to continue.

Build a team with the right expertise

There is no substitute for experience of the market place. It provides a solid foundation from which to build solutions that are innovative and properly support the expectations of your customers.

All the founding shareholders and directors of the P2P Group have extensive experience working in a senior management capacity for postal authorities, express delivery and parcel companies, including Royal Mail, Parcelforce, Swiss Post International, DHL, Crossflight to name but a few. Our key team members within the business have also gained a great deal of experience working within the logistics sector.

Network from the very outset 

We were fortunate in the early days to be supported by some key names in the eCommerce sector, which very much instilled confidence in other customers; it showed that we were credible and viable as a vendor.  We were also very well supported by our key vendor partners. They provided the commercial base which would allow us to compete from day one, by investing their faith in our ability to grow and building the volumes into their networks.

Be sure to mine your address book and use any connections you have to your advantage. You never know who might introduce you to a useful partner, a supplier, or even your first customer.

Develop the right kind of reputation with your customers

Our customers are not numbers, they are our partners. Our consultative approach has helped to inspire loyalty, and this is key – especially when starting out. The better you serve your customers, the more likely they are not only to remain loyal, but also to spread the word about your company and help you to grow.

Set your company tangible growth goals

Do not grow so fast that you cannot keep pace with the demands of that growth. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! Be clear about your target market and what it is you are offering. Listening to feedback from your customers will enable you to improve your business.

Paul Galpin is MD of P2P Mailing

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