Welcome to the CCL experience
When I sat down with Rudee last week, I was curious to find out more about the challenges he faced at the beginning of his career as a business owner. ‘The hardest thing was getting customers,’ he explained. Rudee and his partner Brian were already working in the industry when they decided to start their own company. They anticipated customers from their old company would come across to them, but found their hands were tied by contractual obligations which prevented them from actively approaching those customers.
‘Everyone in their early twenties thinks they’re brilliant!’ Rudee joked. ‘We just had a bit to learn.’
So those early days were hard. The phone didn’t ring for the first month (though Rudee remembers it rang one Friday, to great excitement, but it turned out to be a wrong number). Eventually one of Brian’s old customers found them and brought them all of his business. From there, things started to grow; the phone began to ring and it was like a snowball effect.
Customers are a huge part of any business, but there’s more to it than simply growing a customer base. Managing finances was extremely challenging too. Neither Rudee or Brian had any knowledge of accounts, and they’d be the first people to admit that back then, they didn’t know what they didn’t know. Eventually they contacted a specialist and by then, they fully expected him to advise them to close the business in the least damaging way. Instead, he let them know in no uncertain terms that their bookkeeping skills were… somewhat lacking… (the language, we think was a little fruitier than that), but that everything else was fine. So after three years of struggling, working 24/7 and being constantly on-edge and worried about the potential collapse of the business, Rudee and Brian recruited their first bookkeeper – and that’s when things really began to take off.
The message Rudee learned then, and has since passed on to me and others, was clear: ‘You’ve got to be prepared to listen and take advice from the experts.’
I asked Rudee if he had any more advice for someone seeking to start their own business. Here’s what he had to say: ‘Do your research. Understand your market and the mood of your clientele. Understand what they need and what you can do for them.’ He explained that business is never a one-size-fits all situation, and that’s especially true in the logistics industry. CCL clears goods, moves them and delivers them, but some customers don’t need the full end-to-end package. They might need only certain elements, a tailor-made solution. Said Rudee, ‘We provide all sorts of services, but no one customer is the same as another – because nobody’s needs are the same as the next company.’
CCL – Customs Clearance Ltd – began life as a company dedicated to clearing goods through customs. But things never stand still for long. Spotting the eCommerce trend long before other brokers led to eCommerce handling becoming a core service for the business. CCL’s expertise in this area is now well established. Said Rudee, ‘Getting into eCommerce so early, we were then so far ahead, and fully automated, every point along the journey.’ What CCL offers is a gateway experience, automated, efficient and transparent. ‘We don’t just provide a customs clearance service,’ noted Rudee, ‘we offer a full end-to-end solution. It’s different from the way other brokers do things. We’re proud to stand out – and our process works.’
The final piece of advice Rudee had for new businesses is a simple one: ‘Believe in what you’re doing and be patient. Even if you don’t have a single customer after four weeks, keep calm and be prepared for the moment the phone rings.’
Rudee and Brian believed in their skills and experience and they have grown a trusted business, one that’s become a leader in the industry. From its small beginnings as a team of two sharing a single phone line, today CCL and its staff of over 50 serve some of the biggest global mail and parcel corporations, including DHL, UPS and Royal Mail.
I asked Rudee how he deals with big competitors. Rudee said, ‘You don’t compete, you create partnerships.’ Instead of trying to do the job a company like Royal Mail is already doing, CCL offers the business something they don’t have, or can’t do for themselves. ‘They do what they do, and we do what we do… and then we work together’, said Rudee. ‘Once you start working with one reputable global client, others will follow.’
Rudee’s personality and expertise shine through in the CCL Experience video, where he talks more about what the CCL Experience is and what it stands for. Together with the team, Rudee discusses some of CCL’s services and why it’s so special, working within CCL.
Take a look at our CCL Experience video and don’t forget to share it and comment. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
CCL is an independent and neutral 3PL service provider and customs clearance specialist with 20 years of experience, offering bespoke services designed around each customer’s specific needs.
If you have a business enquiry for CCL please contact us to get the conversation started.
Rudee was interviewed by Valentina, pictures by Jack, words by Julie, part of the CCL marketing and social media team.