Many microbusiness owners find that they’re completely encumbered by the clerical aspects of the job, and they have less and less time to do the artisanal work they fell in love with in the first place. Shipping is both the worst and the best part of many entrepreneurs’ days. After all, shipping something means you sold it, which is great, but it also eats hours out of your day.
Streamline the process and get back to doing what you do best with these tips:
Proper Packaging is a must
Yes, you can wrap any delicate item with enough bubble wrap to ensure its safe journey. But sometimes you need to look for more effective solutions. Heat-activated shrink wrap, for example, is perfect for keeping items together that could otherwise be jostled apart. Packing peanuts are adequate for larger items that are only mildly delicate, but smaller items may fall to the bottom of the packaging and end up damaged.
If you need the details on what shipping method is best for your items, hit up your local post office. Veterans will be able to tell you in an instant, even though you’ll want to buy supplies to DIY the packaging yourself to save money.
Schedule Shipping Times
Schedule a day or two to do shipping. Post your shipping days prominently so customers know that it might take an extra day or two to arrive. Only break this schedule if someone pays for two-day or next-day shipping, and then only get their package together. Consider paying the slightly higher costs to let the post office package these if it will save you time. If your product isn’t highly fragile, it might be just as easy to package them yourself.
If life gets too overwhelming, consider outsourcing your warehousing and shipping. It’s not a sign that you’re a failure for not being able to do it all, it’s a sign that your business has grown enough that it’s necessary. You may also consider outsourcing during your busy seasons (hello, winter holidays!) or if you have an especially busy time during your personal life.
Include a Call to Action
Since you’re a small business, you can do things large retailers can only dream of. Include a small token of thanks with each order, whether it’s a small charm or a thank-you note. Include with it a business card and a 10-percent-off coupon for their next order. The business card site Moo.com will let you customize hundreds of cards, so you have the opportunity to include larger percentages off with bigger orders, and smaller ones for customers who only purchased a single item. Ordering through a business card site will also save you the time it takes to hand-write each thank you.
Shipping shouldn’t take up more than a fifth of your time. If the clerical duties associated with getting your product out the door are eating away at your ability to actually produce it, it’s time to figure out ways to do shipping better.