Founding a business in the post-recession era takes a strong and committed team. Mailing and distribution services provider P2P Mailing has assembled a team which has driven the business to achieve a fivefold turnover increase alongside an eightfold jump in staff numbers.
To find out what has contributed to the success of the company, GrowthBusiness spoke to managing director Paul Galpin.
(1) What does the company do, and what led you to set it up?
P2P Group works with carefully selected vendor partners to deliver a range of international distribution services to online retailers. These include untracked, tracked and express services for the despatch of packets and parcels to anywhere in the world, allowing our customers to benefit from true multichannel supply chain efficiencies but with one single point contact.
P2P was founded in 2009 originally as there were fewer and fewer truly independent companies offering distribution services, as many had been acquired by integrators or other postal authorities, who have a biased agenda when recommending services. We saw an opportunity to better represent the needs of customers when designing products to meet there needs.
(2) What experience did you have in the sector?
All the founding shareholders and directors of the P2P Group have extensive experience working in senior management capacity for postal authorities, express delivery and parcel companies, including Royal Mail, Parcelforce, Swiss Post International, DHL and 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. Our experience and knowledge of the market, the operators within it and the needs of the e-commerce sector give us a solid foundation from which to build solutions that are innovative and properly support the expectations of our customers and in turn their consumers.
(3) What kind of business plan did you put together at the start and what kind of revenue targets did it have?
P2P had a plan to work within the e-commerce sector as this was one of the few sectors demonstrating sustainable and dynamic growth and offered the best opportunity for us to put our knowledge and expertise to good use.
Our initial plan was to grow from a standing to start steadily – never for growth to exceed our capability to handle it. We had no formal five-year plan per se, but took a more entrepreneurial view that we would see where the journey took us. We were fortunate in the early days to be supported by some key names in the e-commerce sector, who very much provided the foundation for our growth and instilled confidence in other customers that we were credible and viable as a vendor.
We were also very well supported by our key vendor partners who all provided the commercial base which would allow us to compete from day one, by investing their faith in our ability to grow and build the volumes into their networks.
(4) Were there significant obstacles to growth?
In the early days, it was about getting our name out there – P2P was a new brand and as such we had to start from the ground up. We did have some good customers from day one, which helped instil confidence, plus we as a team of individuals had developed a good reputation within the industry.
Obtaining credit is always a challenge for start-up businesses, but again, the relationships we had with many of our key vendors in the early days helped overcome that and in the main they cooperated with us and worked with us.
Competition is always an obstacle for growth, but we believe we have some key differentiators that stand us apart even from some of the bigger names in the industry. This is what we capitalise on.
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(5) How have you managed to achieve consistent revenue growth?
Our customers are not numbers, they are our partners. We have a very consultative and partnership approach to working with our customers and this pays off, in the main, by driving loyalty. We are also innovative in our approach to services design. Our e-commerce managed returns service, Trak Pak, is one such major innovation in providing an exciting new delivery solution concept to the e-commerce sector. Also the e-commerce sector as a whole is growing at a phenomenal rate, so our growth is going to be influenced by this.
(6) Which tips would you give to business owners looking to achieve fast growth?
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 be clear about what it is you are offering to that market. Listen to what your customers are saying and understand what their customers are telling them – in our case, Trak Pak is designed very much around consumer demands and less about network capability or what the retailers may think they want. Ultimately if you create a positive customer experience you will benefit from this.
(7) How will you be looking to grow the business in the coming years?
Trak Pak will be the primary vehicle of growth for P2P going forward and we will be evolving this product with more delivery options in country – such as PUDO (pick up drop off) services to complement existing to door options, along with the rolling out of more direct injection services partnering with local in-country carriers for key markets around the globe.
Our fulfilment business, P2P eLogistics, is also growing in the support of small to medium online retailers which are looking to outsource fulfilment operations cost effectively.
(8) Did you ever think you’d achieve this success five years ago?
We were confident we could be successful, but we never imagined we would be where we are today in such a short space of time. The challenge is to manage the growth and maintain it whilst still delivering the levels of service our customers associate us with. A good problem to have, though.