Sandy Ahluwalia founded Secureship in November of 2007 and hasn’t looked back since. He currently employs seven people and has amassed some 3,000 customers through his online shipping platform.
The big idea for secureship.ca came to Ahluwalia after having done contract work for a shipping company.
“I realized that the shipping industry had some significant challenges,” he explains, citing high costs, a traditional and conservative industry, lack of technological capabilities due to cost of development, and manual labour as key examples.
“Our goal at Secureship is to make shipping easier, efficient, and more cost effective for everyone,” says Ahluwalia.
The Secureship .CA story
Ahluwalia founded Secureship with a few goals in mind; to make shipping easier, more cost effective, and efficient.
“Most people don’t realize how complex and difficult shipping actually is – especially as you cross borders,” he says. “We’ve made shipping even easier by implementing intelligence in the shipping process. Secureship’s online tool provides customers with instant prices across multiple carriers as well as offering discount shipping rates.
“In addition, we offer benefits such as a consolidated shipping system regardless of the carrier you choose, a built-in address book, convenient invoicing, and shipment management.”
On choosing .CA
Secureship wasn’t always an online tool. The business concept started out as desktop software package. It took some trial and error to determine that was a limiting service offering, says Ahluwalia.
“The software would only work on Windows, you had to be within a certain geographical location to be able to use our services, and our tech team repeatedly had to go to a client’s office to install the software for new users or for those who formatted their computer,” Ahluwalia says. “By taking our business online, we benefited immensely. We expanded our reach overnight, we could easily scale our services, we were able to target new customers through Adwords/SEO, etc., we were platform independent and we could offer our customers more.”
Since launching online with a .CA domain, Secureship has seen a 55% growth year over year over the last six years, says Ahluwalia.
“The .CA domain name has helped our customers recognize that we are a proudly Canadian company,” he says. “If you have Canadian customers – get the .CA domain name. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s cheap, and you can tailor your SEO to Canadian customers. Your Canadian customers will see that you do business with Canadians and will spend less time wondering if your prices are in CAD or even if you ship to Canada.”
Ahluwalia has learnt a thing or two along his entrepreneurial path, which has pivoted four times over the last nine years.
“When I started Secureship a number of years ago, I thought I understood what customers wanted and what they would be willing to pay for,” he says. “If you’re an entrepreneur starting a new business online, unless you’re really lucky, there is a good chance that you’ll also have to adjust your online business to meet your customer’s needs. Or worse, your idea may not even work.”
Ahluwalia’s top advice for budding entrepreneurs is to use the lean startup process of Build – Measure – Learn.
“What you learn will be an indicator of whether or not what you have will work and you’ll do it in less time,” he says. “It also provides valuable insight into customer use and behaviour of the site.”