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How Can Small Businesses Streamline Global Shipping Processes?

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How Can Small Businesses Streamline Global Shipping Processes?

The international shipping process has faced a number of disruptions over the past few years, with political issues affecting the ease of moving goods around the world. But, just because sending products abroad is a little trickier doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

Small businesses can maintain streamlined global shipping and build a multi-national brand, using smart logistics to make the process simpler.

Optimize your global operations with these tips for efficient overseas deliveries.

Understanding the Difficulties

Before looking into how you optimize global shipping for small businesses, it’s a good idea to get to grips with current situations that are making it harder to ship overseas. 

This isn’t essential, but it can help you plan for disruption and better inform your customers of why they may experience later shipments. 

One of the major issues involves the Red Sea, where unrest is causing shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal and take longer routes to their destination. This can lead to delays of up to 14 days.

There are also problems throughout the Panama Canal, impacting delivery speeds both into and out of the West Coast of the US and the West Coast of Latin America.

There are port strikes, rising fuel costs, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, too, all of which are affecting shipping.

Though it’s a somewhat turbulent time for deliveries, it shouldn’t put small businesses off expanding their market to other countries. Instead, we recommend looking into ways you can streamline global shipments taking into consideration current events, making for smoother deliveries around the world.

Streamlining the International Shipping Process

Logistics are a key part of successful global deliveries and the better you plan the more efficient your shipments will be. Get started with these top tips.

Set-Up Global Payment Systems

If you’re branching out into the global market, it’s important to set up a payment system for international deliveries. For small businesses already using a card reader, check to see if your device is linked to an online account that accepts global digital payments. This will ensure all overseas transactions are tracked right alongside in-person payments for simple cash flow management.

It’s also vital that you charge your customers accurately for global delivery to avoid losing money. Before setting costs, ensure you’ve received quotes from suppliers and have a good grasp on import and export fees. There are tools available, too, that will automatically calculate shipping fees based on the customer’s location, making it easy to generate accurate fees. 

Get to Grips With International Shipping Laws

The international shipping process relies on rules and regulations, making it important that your small business keeps up with compliance. This can be time-consuming, but it’ll make your deliveries much smoother and more likely to reach the customer without an issue. 

Maintain a knowledge of the import rules for any countries you ship to. Most governments will have a detailed guide of their shipping laws, like the UK’s guidelines, which state the steps you need to take to avoid your goods being seized.

If you’re struggling to understand the rules, speak to a government official or consultant. They’ll be able to check over your plans and guide you on ways to improve compliance for efficient shipments. 

Automate Compliance, Documentation, and Reporting

There’s a lot of paperwork involved when shipping internationally. Luckily, though, your small business can take advantage of advanced digital tools to automate a lot of the laborious processes.

Automating software is available for compliance, making it easy to arrange the correct classifications for your products and adhere to global regulations. You can also use automated software to correctly fill out documentation and reports, inputting relevant information based on data already in your systems.

According to a survey by Deloitte, almost all global trade professionals were using a global trade management tool to make cross-border operations simpler. As more industries turn to digitization, it’s smart to switch paper-based operations to high-tech software to keep up with your competitors.

Find a Reliable Shipping Company

Choosing a trustworthy, credible shipping company to deliver your goods will make all the difference to your logistics. They’ll offer services that go beyond moving packages from A to B, including:

  • Updating you on delays and maintaining good communication
  • Handling your goods with care
  • Answering your questions regarding compliance and delivery
  • Offering great customer service
  • Dealing with lost parcels swiftly and effectively

Finding a shipping company that helps rather than hinders your efficiency will have numerous knock-on benefits for your business, too, from improving customer satisfaction to increasing loyalty among your audience. It’ll also impact your brand image, making it well worth the search.

Plan For Delays

A shipping company that currently reports no problems or delays is a red flag. These are tricky times for international freight, and some of your deliveries will likely be delayed on their route to your customers. But, by preparing in advance, you reduce the impact they’ll have on your business.

Smart logistics is proactive, and planning a schedule that avoids bad weather, political events, and seasonal delays is a great way to keep your shipments arriving on time. For example, if you’re shipping at Christmas, anticipate slower deliveries and higher demand by sending earlier.

Even with great logistics, though, you can still experience delays. This is why it’s important you have a good line of communication with your supplier. A credible company will update you on any changes to the estimated time of arrival (ETA) quickly, and provide an explanation as to why they’ve occurred. 

Once a delay is registered with your small business, inform the customers. Send an email updating them that their shipment will be delayed, along with any additional information, including the cause of the delay. Be sure to let them know of the new ETA, too, and offer an apology gift if necessary – like a discount on their next shop – to bolster your brand image.

Manage Customer Expectations

Marketing your global shipping as quick and reliable might be tempting, but if there are delays this will only end up hurting your credibility.

Rather than leading with the ideal situation, manage customer expectations by being honest. People would rather know their package is likely to be delayed, and a realistic delivery time is far better than the disappointment of a late shipment. Give your ETA some wiggle room and you’ll have happier, more loyal customers.

It’s also a good idea to include some information on your website about why global shipping can experience delays. This keeps your customers informed, shows you’re taking delivery logistics seriously, and builds credibility for your small business.

Enable Product Tracking

A great way to keep both your business and your customers up to date on global shipments is with tracking. Many international freight companies will offer an option for tracked deliveries, giving you real-time information on where the product is and when it’ll be delivered. 

This transparency improves the customer experience and reassures them that their delivery is on the way, with 90% of people actively wanting to track shipments. It’s likely to boost their view of your brand, too, as you prioritize their knowledge of the delivery over the potential savings of untracked deliveries.

Final Thoughts

The international shipping process isn’t always easy to navigate, with regulations, compliance, and delays making global business deliveries a lot of work. But, once you’ve got the right logistics in place, reaching customers around the world becomes a lot easier.

To stay on top of global shipping news or learn more about logistics, be sure to keep up with Global Trade.

Author Bio

Harvey Holloway is a digital marketing specialist, with a 1st class honours degree in Digital Media Design. Harvey is now looking to connect with leading publications and share his experience with a wider audience. Connect with Harvey on Twitter: @HarveyTweetsSEO.

analytics self-storage

Cost-Cutting Strategies: Lowering Your Self-Storage Bill in Difficult Economic Times

Find out how to shrink down your self storage bill so that you’re better able to weather the challenging global economy conditions well. 

Whether you own a small business or a larger enterprise, implementing cost-saving strategies in your storage operations can make a significant difference to your bottom line. By exploring smart and efficient approaches to self-storage, business owners can navigate economic challenges and optimize their financial resources. Let’s delve into the various strategies that can help reduce your self-storage bill while maintaining the necessary storage space for your business’s needs: 

Why Do Businesses Need Storage? 

Storage is a fundamental requirement for businesses of all sizes and industries. Whether you run a small startup, a retail store, or a large-scale manufacturing operation, having adequate storage space is essential for the following reasons:

Inventory Management: Storage provides a dedicated space to store inventory, raw materials, and finished goods. Efficient inventory management ensures that businesses can meet customer demands promptly and avoid stockouts or excess inventory.

Seasonal and Fluctuating Demand: Many businesses experience fluctuations in demand throughout the year. Storage facilities allow businesses to store additional inventory during peak seasons, ensuring a consistent supply to meet customer needs without overwhelming their primary workspace.

Business Expansion: As businesses grow, so does their need for additional space. Storage facilities provide a flexible and scalable solution to accommodate expanding operations without the need for immediate investment in larger premises.

Document and Archive Storage: Businesses often generate a significant amount of paperwork and documentation that needs to be securely stored. From legal documents to financial records, having a dedicated storage space ensures proper organization, easy access, and compliance with data protection regulations.

Equipment and Tools: Depending on the nature of the business, storing equipment, machinery, and tools may be necessary. By keeping these items in storage when not in use, businesses can free up valuable space in their workspace, maintain equipment in optimal condition, and prolong its lifespan.

Key Benefits of Storage for Businesses: 

  • Cost Savings: Utilizing storage facilities can lead to substantial cost savings for businesses. Renting storage space is often more affordable compared to leasing larger commercial premises. It allows businesses to optimize their primary workspace, potentially reducing rental expenses and maximizing revenue-generating areas.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Storage facilities offer flexibility in terms of space utilization. Businesses can rent storage units based on their specific needs and easily adjust the storage space as requirements change over time. This scalability is particularly advantageous for seasonal businesses or those experiencing growth or contraction.
  • Enhanced Organization: Storage facilities provide businesses with an organized and structured environment for storing their items. With proper labeling and categorization systems in place, businesses can quickly locate and access stored items, saving time and improving overall operational efficiency.
  • Security and Protection: Reputable storage facilities offer enhanced security measures to protect stored items. This includes advanced surveillance systems, access controls, and climate-controlled units for sensitive items. By utilizing storage facilities, businesses can ensure the safety and preservation of their valuable inventory, equipment, and documents.
  • Focus on Core Business Activities: By utilizing external storage solutions, businesses can redirect their attention and resources to their core activities. Instead of spending time and effort managing excess inventory or searching for misplaced items, business owners and employees can focus on crucial tasks such as sales, customer service, and product development.
  • Business Continuity: Storage facilities provide an extra layer of protection in case of emergencies such as fires, floods, or theft. By having off-site storage, businesses can safeguard their assets and critical documents, minimizing the impact of unforeseen events on their operations and ensuring business continuity.

How Can Businesses Lower Their Self Storage Bill In 2023? 

With the affordable rates offered by self-storage facilities, it is crucial for businesses to explore cost-cutting measures to optimize their storage expenses. By implementing effective strategies to reduce storage costs, businesses can further boost their savings and allocate their resources more efficiently.

One of the most effective ways for businesses to cut down their self-storage costs is by decluttering and organizing the items stored. Here are some tips on how to declutter efficiently:

Assess Inventory: Begin by assessing the inventory stored in the self storage unit. Identify items that are no longer needed, outdated, or have low demand. Categorize them into groups based on their value and relevance to the business.

Prioritize: Focus on items that are taking up valuable space but have limited or no utility for the business. Consider selling, donating, or disposing of these items, depending on their condition and potential value.

Sell or Auction: Organize a sale or auction to offload excess inventory or unused equipment. Online marketplaces, business liquidation companies, or auctions can help generate revenue from items that are no longer needed.

Donate to Charities: Consider donating items that are in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for the business. Not only does this help declutter the storage space, but it also contributes to the community and provides potential tax benefits.

Recycle or Dispose: For items that have no resale or donation value, explore recycling or responsible disposal options. Ensure compliance with local environmental regulations and dispose of items in an eco-friendly manner.

Optimize Storage: Once unnecessary items are removed, organize the remaining inventory efficiently. Use shelving, racks, or storage containers to maximize the available space and improve accessibility.

In addition to decluttering, businesses can implement various additional cost-cutting strategies to reduce their self-storage expenses, such as:

Evaluate Storage Needs: Regularly review and reassess the storage needs of the business. Determine if downsizing to a smaller storage unit or transitioning to a different type of storage arrangement, such as shared or co-working spaces, would be more cost-effective.

Opt for Flexible Rental Terms: Choose self-storage facilities that offer flexible rental terms. Shorter rental commitments or month-to-month contracts provide businesses with the flexibility to adjust their storage requirements as needed.

Negotiate Rates: Don’t be afraid to negotiate storage rates with the facility management. Inquire about any ongoing promotions, discounts for long-term rentals, or loyalty programs that may be available. Building a good relationship with the facility can lead to more favorable pricing.

Optimize Packing: Efficiently pack items in storage to maximize space utilization. Use proper packing techniques and invest in space-saving storage solutions such as vacuum-sealed bags or stackable containers. Utilize vertical space by stacking boxes or using shelving units.

Utilize Vertical Space: Make use of the full height of the storage unit by installing tall shelves or utilizing pallet racking systems. This allows for better organization and prevents wasted vertical space.

Consolidate Storage: If the business has multiple storage units, consider consolidating them into a single unit. This eliminates the costs associated with maintaining multiple units and can often lead to volume discounts.

Digitizing Documents to Reduce Paper Storage Needs

A significant portion of storage costs for businesses often comes from storing paper documents. Businesses want to go paperless to cut costs, and to help with environmental goals as the paper industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution and resource usage, and just one ton of paper creation uses over 19 gallons of wastewater, requires three tons of wood and creates over 5,500 pounds of greenhouse gases. 

Digitizing documents can help eliminate the need for paper storage, boosting environmental kudos and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. Here’s how businesses can digitize their documents effectively:

Assess Document Importance: Identify which documents need to be retained in physical form due to legal or compliance reasons. This ensures that businesses maintain the necessary records while minimizing the storage space required.

Implement Document Management Systems: Invest in document management software or cloud-based storage solutions to digitize and store important documents electronically. This allows for easy access, searchability, and secure storage.

Scan and Index Documents: Scan paper documents using high-quality scanners and establish a systematic indexing system for easy retrieval. Categorize documents based on their type, date, or relevance to facilitate efficient organization and future access.

Ensure Data Security: Implement robust security measures to protect digitized documents. Use encryption, access controls, and regular backups to safeguard sensitive business information.

Shred and Dispose of Paper Documents Securely: Once documents are digitized and stored securely, develop a document retention and disposal policy. Shred and dispose of paper documents in compliance with legal requirements, ensuring that confidential information is properly destroyed.

Shopping Around for the Best Price

To further cut down self-storage costs, businesses should explore different storage facilities and compare prices. Here’s how to shop around for the best price:

Research Multiple Facilities: Research and identify several self-storage facilities in the area. Consider factors such as location, security, access hours, and reputation.

Request Quotes: Contact each facility and request quotes for the desired storage unit size and rental duration. Inquire about any additional fees or charges that may apply.

Compare Features and Services: Assess the features and services offered by each facility, such as climate control, 24/7 access, on-site security, and customer support. Compare these aspects alongside the pricing information to make an informed decision.

Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations: Read online reviews and seek recommendations from other businesses or industry peers who have utilized self-storage facilities. Their experiences and insights can provide valuable information to guide the decision-making process.

Consider Long-Term Savings: While price is an essential factor, also consider the long-term savings and benefits offered by each storage facility. Evaluate factors such as security, cleanliness, customer service, and any additional value-added services that may be provided.

There Are Savings To Be Made, But Savvy Businesses Cut Costs with Caution

When seeking to reduce self-storage costs, it is crucial for businesses to approach storage changes with caution. 

Do contact your current self-storage provider and approach the conversation tactfully. Express your interest in exploring cost-saving options and downsizing to a smaller unit. Discuss any loyalty discounts or flexible pricing plans they may offer. At the same time, take care to carefully evaluate the potential impact on your storage needs and ensure that downsizing won’t compromise the security or accessibility of your stored items.

It is also a good idea to evaluate the contents of your storage unit diligently before downsizing to a smaller unit. Assess the items that are essential to keep and those that can be disposed of or relocated elsewhere. Take into account the potential challenges of rearranging the unit and ensure that downsizing won’t lead to overcrowding or difficulty in accessing necessary items.

If you are looking at saving money by moving from the city, it’s important to think carefully about the consequences of such a move before making a final decision. While units located outside the city can be more affordable, carefully consider the logistics involved. Assess the additional transportation costs and time required to transport goods to and from these locations. Ensure that the savings from lower rental rates outweigh the potential drawbacks of increased distance and associated logistical complexities.

The same can be said for changing your storage provider completely. To avoid jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, conduct comprehensive research to avoid costly mistakes in the long run. Compare different storage providers, unit sizes, and pricing structures. Read customer reviews, seek recommendations, and evaluate the features and services offered. Pay attention to any hidden fees or unfavorable terms that may impact your cost-saving efforts. You will also want to think about changing your storage adjustments overall in the same way. 

Carefully analyze the cost-effectiveness and long-term viability of your chosen options. Assess the potential savings achieved through downsizing or switching providers against the costs associated with transportation, logistics, and potential limitations on accessibility or security. Strive for a well-balanced solution that optimizes cost savings without compromising the overall functionality of your storage arrangements.

Savvy businesses also never allow their decision about storage to be their last. They constantly revisit and asses their storage needs as the business evolves. 

Periodically evaluate if you still require the same amount of storage space or if adjustments can be made and always ensure that any changes align with your business operations and maintain the necessary level of organization  and accessibility for your stored items.

If you find that your needs are too specialist for general storage research, to ensure you get the best setup and financial scenario you could consider consulting with storage experts or professionals who specialize in optimizing storage solutions. Their expertise can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific business needs. They can help you identify potential cost-saving opportunities, navigate storage changes, and avoid potential pitfalls that may arise from hasty or ill-informed decisions.

By approaching storage changes with caution, conducting thorough research, and seeking professional guidance when needed, businesses can successfully adjust their storage arrangements, reduce costs, and optimize their storage operations without jeopardizing the security, accessibility, or long-term viability of their stored items.

“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.” – Warren Buffet

Businesses seeking to lower their self-storage costs can benefit from exploring a range of options and adopting a multifaceted approach to optimize their storage needs while maintaining a healthy bottom line. 

By implementing various strategies such as decluttering, downsizing, negotiating rates, and considering alternative storage locations, businesses can effectively reduce their storage expenses. Additionally, digitizing documents and utilizing cost-cutting measures while staying within legal requirements can further contribute to significant savings. 

However, it is essential to approach storage changes with caution, conduct thorough research, and carefully evaluate the cost-effectiveness and long-term viability of chosen options. By taking a proactive and thoughtful approach to managing storage costs, businesses can ensure their storage needs are met efficiently while maximizing their savings and overall financial health.


business owners

All In Or Out? How Business Owners Can Deal with COVID’S Cloudy Future.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, small businesses have reopened across the nation but certainty and optimism are a long way from being restored.

Spikes in infections in many states, double-digit unemployment, consumer and lender concerns, and steep economic challenges in the wake of a long shutdown make it difficult to forecast if and when many companies will fully recover. Small business owners – many of them baby boomers and in the retirement age range – are in a difficult position trying to decide whether to risk staying in business or sell and cut their losses, says Michael Sipe, author of The AVADA Principle and founder of the consulting firm 10x Catalyst Groups (

“We are in the early stages of a depression that’s going to go on quite a while,” Sipe says. “Many small business owners are in their 60s and 70s, and they’re tired and beat up. Some recovered from the financial collapse of 2008, but now they’re getting hammered again.”

“Customers and employees are scared or nervous. The supply chain is a big problem, and there’s this crazy situation where prices are going up because of the shortages, but meanwhile we have a depression because there aren’t enough transactions.”

Sipe offers the following suggestions to small business owners as they try to sort out their future amidst so much uncertainty:

Quit. “A lot of people are going to do that,” Sipe says. “And if that’s the decision, they should quit fast. Don’t drag this out. One of the things that happened in the recession of 2008 was people refused to face reality, and it cost them everything, their savings and retirement. If you’re 60 to 70 years old right now and don’t know if you can gut this out another 10 or 15 years, then cut your losses. You’ll have a little nest egg now as opposed to spending all of it trying to bail the business out.”

Reinvent. “If you’re not going to quit,” Sipe says, “then you’ve got to change. Just slugging it out and hoping it’s going to get better or that it will get back to normal – that kind of thinking is ridiculous. We have huge structural problems as a country. So if you’re going to reinvent, you have to come back to the fundamentals of business. The owner has to back up and say, ‘What are the fundamental concerns of customers we are actually trying to address here?’ And focus energy on those prime areas that are going to move people to pay a good margin for your product. Don’t ask why it’s not easier; ask how you can get better.”

Be flexible. Given the fluid state of our world, Sipe says changing some of your business model and processes may have to become a habit. “The next thing business owners have to do is realize what they changed today may need to change tomorrow,” he says. “The innovation has to happen every day. That has a lot to do with listening to customers and anticipating what they would respond to. Engagement with customers and engagement in the innovation process for owners is absolutely critical. If an owner is not willing to try and get that figured out with and for their customers, they’re going to fail.”

“The business has to be infused with a fresh energy and a fresh passion,” Sipe says. “If you’re not going to quit during these extremely difficult times, that means you’ve got to get back in the game. And you’ve got to play hard because this is going to be tough.”


Michael Sipe, author of The AVADA Principle, is the founder of 10x Catalyst Groups (, which helps entrepreneurs grow profitable and thriving businesses organized on a foundation of Biblical principles. Sipe has also enjoyed a successful 30-plus year career in mergers, acquisitions, and business development as the founder of CrossPointe Capital, a middle market investment-banking firm. In that capacity, he consulted with and evaluated over 5,000 companies and has provided advisory services for approximately a half-billion dollars in business sales involving hundreds of companies. He remains active in transactional work and has been a key advisor in mergers and acquisitions projects covering a multitude of industry sectors.

small business

How to Lead a Small Business Through Coronavirus and other Troubling Times

With the coronavirus shaking up the economy and upending the day-to-day operations of businesses, it’s perhaps more critical than ever that corporate CEOs and small business owners summon up all their leadership skills.

Employees who usually are just down the hall are now working remotely from home. The supply chain is disrupted. And customers and clients may be changing their spending habits.

But, as important as business savvy and financial expertise can be in riding out all the economic effects of the pandemic, other traits also come into play and maybe just as essential, says Marsha Friedman, a successful entrepreneur who still leads a business she launched three decades ago.

“One of those essential traits is courage,” says Friedman, founder and president of News & Experts (, a national PR firm. “Thirty years ago when I started my company, I probably would never have said it takes courage to lead a small business, but without it, I assure you, you’ll fail.”

Friedman, who is also the ForbesBooks author of Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage, understands this first-hand. Her firm, like many businesses, endured tough economic times after the 9/11 attacks. Revenue dropped and bankruptcy loomed as a real possibility.

“I had to figure out how to turn my company around,” she says. “It took courage, endurance, and perseverance, but I knew I could not go back, so I had no choice but to go forward.”

Courage is just one of what Friedman calls the 5 C’s for building and maintaining a successful business through good times and bad.

“They’re the guiding principles I’ve learned through the ups and downs and all the mistakes,” she says. “They can work during the difficulties we now face as well.”

In addition to courage, Friedman’s other C’s are:

Caring. First, care enough about yourself and your dreams to believe you can achieve success even in these daunting times, Friedman says. “Just as important is caring about your staff and creating a positive work environment for them despite the troubles we face,” she says. “Be supportive of them throughout this situation that is bringing additional stress to everyone’s lives.” Finally, a good business leader cares about customers, Friedman says. Be willing to listen to their concerns, take responsibility for mistakes, and correct them.

Confidence. Most people have faced and overcome challenges in life. The confidence that allowed them to prevail over those challenges needs to be brought into play in business more than ever right now, Friedman says. “Believing you can reach for and achieve your short-term and long-term goals is essential to getting you there,” she says. “Maintaining your confidence is important to get through these unsettling times.”

Competence. It’s critical to stay up on the disruptions in your industry that the coronavirus is causing. “If you’re forced to downsize, this may be the time to reorganize and tap into the skills and abilities of your remaining team that are different from the roles you hired them for,” Friedman says. “That’s why it’s always important to have hired competent people who you can rely on no matter what the situation.”

Commitment. Stay dedicated to your goals no matter how difficult that becomes during these challenging conditions. Friedman says there may be times when this will be not only difficult but downright painful. That was the case for her during those tough times after the 9/11 attacks. “I had to make drastic cuts, including letting go of beloved employees,” she says. “But I never wanted to suffer a failure, and so I stayed committed to the goal and succeeded in pulling the business through those rough times.” 

“As we face the current challenges, you have to stay the course, remain positive and show caring for everyone related to your business,” Friedman says. “Most of all, no matter how dismal it seems right now, you need to have confidence that you are going to get through it.”


Marsha Friedman, ForbesBooks author of Gaining the Publicity Edge: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Growing Your Brand Through National Media Coverage, is a successful entrepreneur and public relations expert with nearly 30 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and professionals in the field of business, health and finance.  Using the proprietary system she created as founder and President of News & Experts (, an award-winning national public relations agency, her firm secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for its clients.  The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies, who shares her knowledge both as a popular speaker around the country and in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself.