Our Bright Ideas series asks successful entrepreneurs how they came up with their great business idea, and what advice they'd offer other entrepreneurs. Today we hear from Devin Johnson, CEO of International Fulfillment Solutions — a three-year-old site dedicated to simplifying the process of e-commerce logistics.
Business News Daily: What does your company do?
Devin Johnson: International Fulfillment Solutions is one of the fastest growing e-commerce logistics companies in the nation. Recently named the fastest growing company in Utah, IFS offers discounted shipping rates, low/simple fulfillment pricing and e-commerce distribution of products for companies. The receiving arm of IFS handles products regardless of the business size and saves business owners money by leveraging the volume from hundreds of other clients in order to receiving discounted shipping rates.
The fulfillment arm provides free receiving and free warehousing, offering a low and flat price for today's businesses. The e-commerce distribution arm of IFS allows clients to benefit from longstanding relationships with many of the top internet retailers. IFS sells they product and handles all of the dirty work, freeing up time for busy executives to get back to business.
BND: Where did you get the idea for your business?
D.J.: I had some brief experience working in the e-commerce industry offering a very narrow product offering and solution to clients. We started the company due to a need to provide clients products I could see there was a need for. It’s a little complicated to explain but I felt there was a huge gap in the “first mile" of logistics. There were many good technology solutions, good carrier products and services but there weren’t many cohesive solutions tying the entire front-end solutions together, meaning the utilization of technology, accessing and using better shipping solutions and providing access to networks and rates that are not available to the typical e-commerce shipper.IFS CEOs Devin Johnson (left) and Ryan Treft
There is also a huge market that carriers and networks would like to access but it’s cost prohibitive for them to due so because of the “first mile" line-hauls … so by combining technology, rates, and shipping products for small to medium size companies and providing the first mile solutions for the carriers we could bring all parties together and provide a win for our clients and a win for our vendors and partners.
BND: How did you go about figuring out if your business idea was viable?
D.J.: IFS became a multi-million dollar business within the first 12 months without investment or debt. We did this by providing our customers with unprecedented service.
[For more business ideas, visit our Business Ideas Section.]
BND: Did you test your business idea? If so, how?
D.J.: No. Just saw the opportunity and ran with it.
BND: How do you know when it's time to give up on a business idea and move on?
D.J.: Either you realize the perceived value from your customer doesn't exceed or you find out quickly you're not on a clear, reasonable path to generating profit.
BND: What advice would you give to someone who thinks they have a great business idea?
D.J.: Fill out a resume and go get a job haha. Seriously though, just get out there and hustle while knowing the risks and costs (both emotional, social, physically, and financially) you're willing to assume and tolerate.
BND: Where do you look for inspiration when you are trying to find new ideas or ways to grow your business?
D.J.: I look at the needs of our customers.