Make Your Small Business Great and Powerful

Lessons from The Wizard of Oz.

Remember the climactic scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy and her friends look “behind the curtain” and discover the real Oz? The huge, smoke-billowing Oz ruled the Emerald City with his powerful voice and massive presence.

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In today’s e-commerce world, we find a lot of people who need an Oz to help them reach their potential.

But it turned out that he was just a regular guy in a small booth with a microphone. Could the professor have ruled the city on his own? Probably not. He needed a big and powerful partner.

In today’s e-commerce world, we find a lot of people who need an Oz to help them reach their potential. Many small companies wilt under the pressure to sell more product or, conversely, to manage a thriving business with a small staff.

How on earth are you supposed to manage multiple marketplaces, create product, ship coast to coast in two days and still retain your profit and your sanity?

Let’s get real

The truth is that despite all the rhetoric about small business as the backbone of our economy, really small businesses — true mom-and-pop shops — have mostly been ignored by companies who develop tools for business growth.

How much could a guy making wooden toys in his garage really afford to spend on management tools?

The logic of focusing on large companies doesn’t hold in today’s world. When the internet came along, business turned upside down. Micro-businesses would emerge as the real “backbone” of the internet economy, but big success brings big stress and a variety of management woes.

So how did the little guys (and women) become big? Many small e-commerce businesses grew by placing their products on Amazon. It didn’t take long for other businesses to copy Amazon’s model, and soon small businesses had a variety of marketplaces to choose from.

But marketplaces don’t come without risks: In addition to giving up part of the profits for more exposure, small businesses run the risk of having their ideas copied and sold at bargain prices.

What small businesses really need is a way to reach millions of customers all over the world on multiple marketplaces while minimizing the costs and risks. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in shipping to the U.S. and Canada, warehouse space and someone to manage it all.

In other words, keep working out of your garage, but look like you’re as big as a Fortune 500 company. Or the Wizard of Oz.

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Small businesses really need a way to reach millions of customers while minimizing costs and risks.

Help is on the way

It sounds like a lot to ask, but help is on the way. Technology companies and fulfillment companies have popped up everywhere to fill this important gap, offering management platforms or inventory storage and shipping at competitive rates.

Unfortunately, most of them offer only pieces to the puzzle, forcing small businesses to cobble together a complete management solution from a variety of sources. Yet another headache.

We’ve developed a program that offers the entire management and fulfillment package to small businesses looking to sell worldwide.

UPS eFulfillment is a soup-to-nuts program that allows small business to connect to multiple marketplaces, store product at two locations (east and west), offer multiple speeds of shipping in the continental U.S. and Canada and manage it all through one portal for clear prices.

Even tiny businesses can partner with a multinational company and still own their customers.

One of the best features of UPS eFulfillment is that it works with multiple marketplaces out of the same warehouses. No more housing product in multiple locations for multiple marketplaces. All inventory is available for every marketplace, and you can even use UPS eFulfillment to support your own website.

For many small e-commerce businesses, it’s the best of all worlds.

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When your customers love your product and service, they won’t be tempted to look behind the curtain.

Follow the yellow brick road

Taking your basement business international is no small feat. But anybody in today’s connected world has access to opportunities that our predecessors could only dream about.

Managing it all while maintaining product quality and keeping up with the latest demands is challenging, but UPS tools will help you expand — while keeping your sanity.

With a worldwide presence and easy fulfillment options, you really can be like the Wizard of Oz, projecting a giant presence even while working from a tiny desk.

When your customers love your product and service, they won’t be tempted to look behind the curtain.

Christy Parrish is vice president of global retail and e-commerce strategy at UPS.

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