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February 14, 2024 27 mins

When someone hands you their business card, do you just add it to your Rolodex or are you actually building on that new connection?

In this episode, Sonja Crystal Williams sits down with logistics virtuoso and founder of Zip Ship Inc., SirDarryl Roundtree. From a humble beginning in his home to a bustling warehouse hub, SirDarryl reveals how nurturing relationships has propelled his entrepreneurial journey and grown his business.

They discuss how to transform mundane business card exchanges into thriving professional networks, how a timely 'thank you' and the judicious use of technology like ChatGPT can lead to serendipitous partnerships, and how both personal relationships and networking connections can help popularize your brand. The episode also ventures into positioning an online business for success through website development and digital marketing.

About SirDarryl Roundtree and Zip Ship Inc.
SirDarryl Roundtree, founder and president of Zip Ship, is a visionary entrepreneur and logistics expert. With over 20 years in the industry, he has revolutionized e-commerce fulfillment through innovative solutions. Under his leadership, Zip Ship has become a benchmark in efficiency and customer-centric service, expanding globally and setting industry standards.

Learn more about Zip Ship, and follow them on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Sonja Crystal Williams (00:12):
Hey everyone, welcome to today's
episode of 10 Minute Marketing.
I'm your host, Sonja CrystalWilliams.
So today I have a guest joiningus, SirDarryl Roundtree.
And SirDarryl, you have got abackground in logistics.
You are basically the logisticsexpert.
When I think of logistics, Ithink of you.

I didn't know what 3PL or 4PLmeant until I met you.
So y'all, we're here today totalk to SirDarryl about his
company, Zip Ship, and how he'sbeen able to grow that company
in such a short period of timeand what's been working for you
and your business.
So thanks for being here,SirDarryl.

SirDarryl Roundtree (00:53):
Oh, thank you for having me and I'm glad
to hear that the learning stuckright BPL, 4PL.
So thank you for that, that'sright.

Sonja Crystal Williams (01:00):
No, I think that's huge.
So for those of you thathaven't heard of that technology
, I think it's important to knowit, particularly if you're in
the e-commerce space.
So, SirDarryl, I want to askyou to kind of just tell us more
about what Zip Ship does inthat space.

SirDarryl Roundtree (01:19):
So Zip Ship is a full servicethird party logistics company.
So let me explain full servicefirst.
So full service means that wehave kind of everything that you
would need from a third part oflogistics provider.
We've got warehousing, wehandle storage, we handle
fulfillment and we handlelogistics.

So we do have an in-housefreight brokerage, which means
that we're able to coordinatecontainer pickups from different
We're also able to coordinatedifferent inbound shipments.
If you need something shippedfrom a manufacturer to us and
then from our warehouse toeither a distribution center, we
can ship directly to a customeror we can ship directly to a

So we're pretty much able tohandle all of your warehousing
services in-house.

Sonja Crystal Williams (02:07):
Got you.
So you all are like the behindthe scenes team.
If I had a clothing company ora jewelry company, then I get my
product to you and then you alltake care of everything that
needs to happen to get it infront of a customer.
Is that right?

SirDarryl Roundtree (02:25):
That is correct.
We're, believe it or not, we'rethe last.
We're the block in between yourwebsite and the customer.
So, and if everything is donecorrectly, it should be seamless

Sonja Crystal Williams (02:37):
The hidden middleman yes, invisible,
got it, got it.
Okay, so you're a background.
Let's talk a little bit aboutyour background.
You were in logistics prior tolaunching Zip Ship, is that

SirDarryl Roundtree (02:53):
That is correct.
I'm definitely going to datemyself here, but I've been in
logistics for 20, yeah, 20 plusyears.
Kind of amazing to even saythat.

Sonja Crystal Williams (03:03):
But you're not dating yourself.
I've been in marketing andsales 20 plus, so hey, that's
all right.

SirDarryl Roundtree (03:08):
We're contemporaries right, there you
Yeah, a really really deep,deep background in supply chain.
So supply chain, you know is,is everything from like raw
materials, manufacturing,distribution, logistics and
So it is like I like to saysupply chain is from the

manufacturer to the shelf.
It's everything a lot of us, alot of customers, don't think
about, like how do my itemsactually get to me or get to the
shelf in the store?
And really COVID brought supplychain to the forefront.
So when we started to seeshelves empty of, you know,
paper towels, toilet paper,masks and all those different
things, there was a significantinterruption in supply chain.

So kind of back to my background.
I started a manufacturing withthe Food and Beverage Company,
spent about 10 years there andit was a large Fortune 50
company and really I credit thattime of my life with just a
thirst and hunger for knowledgein the supply chain space.
You know, going into anenvironment where the processes

and the documentation was veryrigid and the expectations were
high from a performancestandpoint, you know we really
learned like the deep ends andouts of the business that we
operated in.
And then after that I had agood friend of mine reach out
and she needed some assistance,kind of getting connected to a

retailer, and it was something Iwas familiar with and that was
the birth of Zip Ship, becauseshe had a 3PL provider that was
not invisible in the process.
So there were a lot ofinterruptions, a lot of customer
complaints, a lot of lostinventory, missing products,

missing orders, so just a lot ofred flags and I said, well,
until we find someone else, I'lltake on the fulfillment and
just kind of do it out of myhouse.
And that was the birth andorigin of Zip Ship.
So, you know, one person turnedinto two, people was turned
into four, turned into eight.
Next thing, you know, I had adozen clients that I was

providing service for.

Sonja Crystal Williams (05:28):
Are you still working out of the home?

SirDarryl Roundtree (05:31):
No, no, I'd probably be a divorced man if I
was still working out of thehome.
So it quickly exploded.
So I had a lot of inventorywith that one client and then,
as I added more, you know, Istarted looking around and say,
okay, well, I got to find asmall warehouse.
So I was lucky enough to find asmall warehouse.

It was about 3000 square feetand not far from home.
It was in in Mableton, Georgia.
I'll find a five minute, youknow, drive from home and it
served its purpose.
It had, you know, had officespace had about, you know, 3000
square feet of this would have.
This was at the onset of COVID.
So this was you know, 2019,right, and what was happening

was the market, was thee-commerce market, was being
pushed by, you know, by COVIDfolks being at home and you know
, shopping.
Right, they had the, what arecalled the, the relief checks at
the government.

Sonja Crystal Williams (06:30):
Relief checks, oh yeah, I forgot about
those already.

SirDarryl Roundtree (06:35):
How could you forget?
Right, there was all thisdisposable income.
You know they were, you know,lighting Amazon and their
favorite online retailers up, sothere was a significant surge
in in e-commerce businesses,like a lot, a lot of folks, you

know, started making haircareproducts at home and doing all
types of things, and and webenefited from that, you know.
So, you know, our customer basecontinued to grow and it forced
us to move into a to anotherlocation, went from 3,000 square
feet to 12,000 square feet in,I think, 2020, and the momentum

just just kept going and justkept going and we moved from
12,000 feet to 18,000 squarefeet.
And at this point, I know we, Iconnected with the Go Getter
Group and this was when wereally started to build out some
So, you know, prior to that, ithad been our growth strategy

had been primarily word of mouthand purely related to, which,
you know, are to, you know, twomethods that I still really
strongly believe in, but then westarted to add it to the
marketing piece.
So we revamp their website.
We would, you know we weretalking about the flow right
from the keyword search and SEOright, so we implemented those

forms and, you know, reallystarted to see a boost and
change in the website.
Honestly, it changed ourcredibility right because the
website was really done nicely,it was clean, it had all the
right content, it flows, thecolor scheme, the palette was,

you know, it was nicely done.
We had a, you know, really goodlogo and what started to happen
is we started to receiveinterest from larger clients.
So it was not only you knowthis, the startup crew, you know
the startup solopreneurs anddifferent things, but it started
to be like you know businesses,like local businesses, as some

you know some larger entities.

Sonja Crystal Williams (08:50):
So if I were to map thisjourney, it was like 20, 20,
2018, 2019 or so, that thatfirst friend came to you, so
someone you knew, relationship,which is still huge.
You know I always tell peopleit's great and you know I
specialize in helping peoplewith online marketing, but
nothing, nothing, nothingreplaces the relationships you

have, the face-to-facecommunication, getting out and
putting yourself in front ofpeople, especially in startup
But to map out what happenedwith you, so 2019- ish, 2018-
ish you start and then you saidit quickly multiply through
relationships, word-of-mouththis person told that person,
this e-commerce business ownertold that one and then, by 2020,

it was like whoa and COVIDhealth, which is good.
It's pretty amazing.

SirDarryl Roundtree (09:38):
And it really is a great story.
I mean the nights that I sit upkind of worrying about what's
You know, I reflect back to thestory kind of.
You know, my barber saidsomething to me and it was
really profound.
It was, you know, he said,You know, the person you are
today is preparing you for theperson that you're going to be
tomorrow, and it's an endlesscycle of that.

So you know, when we talk aboutrelationships and we talk about
investing in yourself, theperson that you are today is a
result of the investment thatyou made yesterday and the week
prior and the year prior.
And you're starting to see thatmanifestation now.
And the person that you aretoday, if you're continuing to
invest in yourself and yourbusiness, you're going to be a
different person tomorrow, nextweek, next year, and it's a

constant cycle.
And you know the other thingthat you mentioned, that I'm a
you know, beyond a firm believerin relationships.
But you know, I truly believerelationships are one of the
master keys to any type ofsuccess, whether that matter for
your entrepreneurship, ifyou're, you know, if you're an
athlete, if you're in corporateAmerica, like, relationships are

the cornerstone for yoursuccess Because you know what
happens as you, you know, asyour message gets out there, as
your connection and your energygets out there, you know folks
remember who you are and and youknow how you make them feel,
whether or not you're able toservice them.
Or you know, just, if you havegood, you know good, positive
vibes with them, they alwayscome back.

Oh, that guy, he does, you knowhe does warehousing, or they
know that.
Okay, he has a warehouse, sohe's the warehouse guy.
If I got a question, I can, Ican go back to him and you know
that's really been and it stillis a.
You know, part of our growthstrategy is just, you know,
getting getting more out there.
You know getting in front ofpeople, not speaking or anything

like that, but you know I doattend a lot of networking shows
You know shows of modics anddifferent things, and just, you
know, introduce myself to, youknow to a lot of different
individuals and share anexchange info.
And you know we talk aboutproblems and you know things
that are going on in the marketand a lot of times it comes back

, comes back full circle, youknow, two, three times.

Sonja Crystal Williams (11:55):
And I want to harp on that for a
second, because some people willthink, when they're growing
their business and anotherperson will say, hey, get out
there, they think I have to geton a stage, I have to speak.
And you said I don't, I don'tget on stages necessarily and
speak, I'm just.
I'm just a participant, butyou're making the connections.
So let's talk about the how andmaking those connections.

Okay, so you exchanged info,right, but what does that really
look like for you when you gohome with 10 business cards from
a networking event or anindustry conference that you
What happens?
Because some people, thebusiness cards are in a pile.
So what happens?

Got it and I'm really happy toshare this and maybe it'll help
So I have a.
I have a hard and fast ruleright when I, when I take
business cards, I give myself 24hours.
So within 24 hours.
Doesn't matter if my, if mybusiness card stack is is one
person or five or or whatever,right, I need to get a message,

a thank you message, in 24 hours.
So if I take a business card,you know I'll make some notes, I
will make a concerted effort torespond within 24 hours.
That means I just came from,came back from the national
retail federation up in New York, right?
So I probably had 20 or 30business cards.

So what that?
What that looks like is when Igot back to the hotel, you know
I every day it was a three eventEvery day I got back I had five
or six business cards.
I would you know I cheat alittle bit now.
Now I use ChatGPT to come upwith the, at least the framework
for the email.
Of course I'll change andmodify, but I come up with the

Hey, it was great to meet you,you know, really enjoyed the
synergy and the discussion.
And I send that email and Ialso include a, a Calendly link.
So say, hey, it was greatconnecting.
I know we talked about settingup some time to talk, but I'll
include my calendar, my Calendlylink, so that they can actually
follow up and hey, yeah, I wantto connect let's, you know,

let's set up a meeting and andand follow up and reconnect the
further discussion so that thatpiece is, is is really been
successful for me, it's reallyit does a couple of things like
from a I know we talk aboutrelationships and kind of being
what's the word.
I'm looking for authenticity,right, and you know folks value

time and and if you'rerespectful of folks, time and
and and you, you know youconnect and you, you know you
got that good, positive vibe,you know, from that initial
interaction and folks see, seethat you're, you know, authentic
and hey, we met.
I want to make sure we keep theconnection, you know, hot, keep
it alive.
You reach out quickly.
That that goes a long way.
I mean, it really does.

And I've had multiple, you knowmultiple people when they do
reach reply to an email and theysay, hey, you know, I really
appreciate the fact that you,you know that you kept the
continuity going.
That says a lot and it means alot and you know those
relationships, you know, justcontinue forward.
So you know it's found in 24hours is the first rule.
The second one is you knowauthenticity, you know how you

know go, you know going to therelationship.
You know authentic, your trueself.
That my second rule and Thirdrule is is following up and just
, you know, keeping a connectionalive.
And whether that's, you know,you know certainly not daily
because that's probably too, tooaggressive, but you know, after

the initial Conversation, maybea week, you know, you know,
then two weeks and then you kindof let it tail off but there's
nothing, nothing really growing.
And you know those, those ruleshave really, you know, help me
grow the business, help me buildnew relationships.
And I got a quick story.
It's help, it's help like Likescale relationships, and what I

mean by scale is, let's say, youmeet, you meet a person and At
the time it's not a good fit foryou and that person to Move
forward, but it's a good, goodconnection, good relationship,
you know, and that person runsinto someone else that has a
need and they're able to say, oh, I just met somebody that was

that works in this space.
You know, let me refer you to sohere recently I'll do kind of
the same was, same was plug.
But we just started a newrelationship with the
international supply,international supply partners
and that their industrial supplycompany, where they just
secured a Very large RFP withthe large enterprise level

client and they were looking forsupport, looking for resource.
Well, a person that I met, youknow, maybe three weeks, three
weeks ago, introduced me to theCEO of international supply
partners and through thatintroduction, through that
relationship, you know we're notgonna partner with ISP and in
supporting that are, you know,that RFP.
So just that, that's, you know,quick testament to the power

relationships, to the power ofgenuine connection through you
know this.
You know, just looking to be aresource, looking to be you know
of service and looking tosupport, you know the
entrepreneur network.
You know there's a lot ofopportunities that can come.
Do that, do that method.

Sonja Crystal Willia (17:24):
Absolutely , and you're talking about email
is kind of the tech part of howyou're nurturing those
relationships, and I always tellClients and friends and
associates that when you'rerunning a business like after
you do those steps you talkedabout which I love that you have
a framework for how you'reapproaching it.
The the final step.
Yes, it's like you said, likeyou're gonna directly Email

those people and then eventuallyyou know you're checking in
with them.
You don't hear anything.
Put them in your email list,you know if you, if as long as
your email list isn't sendingout a daily email, you know if
you send out an email everyother week or once a month, and
it's high value andinformational.
That was one of the first thingsI did when I started growing my
marketing agency, when I wouldmeet people at events and when I

contacted them I would say isit okay if I also put you on my
email list?
I dropped some really greatinformation and and I really
didn't really get anyone thatsaid no, you know, so Open to
that, you know as long as youknow, and I would give them the
heads up, so that's really soundadvice.
There's one more topic I wantto talk about, and that is you

also mentioned that you youinitially launched without you
know, let's just say, brandingin place, right, the logo, the
colors game and all that.
So that came in retrospect foryou a couple of years into the
business and then, once you gotthere, you know that is that has
worked for you as well.
I want to talk about that alittle bit too, and just kind of

the value of that.
So for you, what is that?
What are the steps?
I guess I would sayInvestment-wise, and you and I
work closely together when youwere in that phase, of course,
but just from your point of viewas the business owner.
How did you look at?
Hey, I got to get a website upand I'm hoping that this website
will deliver some leads to me.
What did that look like for you?

SirDarryl Roundtree (19:15):
So during that time it was it was
certainly higher, higher anexpert right.
So At the time we were still ingrowth phase within the
business, so there was a lot ofactivity.
I was still Still very, very,very much hands-on and like the
day-to-day operation, eventhough we were, you know,

training, training newassociates we had, you know,
still building the team, stillvery, very much hands-on with
like the day-to-day operationand at the end of the day, I
made some attempts to, you know,to try to like do a website and
some marketing things and justquickly realize, like, okay,
this is not my area of expertiseand I know it.

And you know, working with you Ihad a very clear, I had a
really clear understanding ofkind of what the process is.
You know what we're gonna do,what the anticipated outcome.
You know we reasonably expectright and and the results were.
The results were there, right.
We started with the website, westarted building out the social

media platform.
You know we had a had a postingcounter and just, you know, you
guys were really good atwalking me through the process,
telling me what's going tohappen, actually making it
happen, and then we get togetherand review the results and then
adjust and for us the return oninvestment was certainly there.
But I definitely say to myfellow entrepreneurs, as much as

we like to try to create withour own hands, and it is
cost-effective the other thingyou have to look at is time, and
it's one thing if you have thetime to invest, because you got
to learn it, you got to spendtime learning the language, so
to speak, the marketing language, digital marketing language,
and the customer profiles andthe customer personas, and so at

the end of the day, it's worththe investment to kind of save
yourself some time and energyand paying an expert to help you
develop in the areas thatyou're not strong in.
And I'd say even before thatyou really have to got to be
honest with yourself and justsay this isn't my strong suit.

Sonja Crystal Williams (21:28):
Let me rely on you, don't try to do it
all but entrepreneurs.

SirDarryl Roundtree (21:34):
We think we have a Superman, Superwoman,
keeping on right and that wehave to do it all.
The bottom line is always inview.
I mean, I used to walk aroundthe warehouse and I see a person
sitting down and I would havemy virtual reality augmented
I see this person standing andI can just see money.

Yeah, just flying, Going downthe drain.
Just flying around.
I'm like, oh man, look, you gotto do some work though.
I'm sorry.
Just stand around.

Sonja Crystal Williams (22:08):
I hear you.
All right.
So, I want to wrap up with acouple of quick questions.
One is given that you're in thee-commerce space and on social
media there are dozens I mean, Iknow I get sucked into the
Instagram and Facebook ads allthe time and end up buying stuff
that I see online, especiallyif the ads been showing to me
for a while.

What is your advice orrecommendations or thoughts that
you would speak to e-commercebusiness owners as it relates to
getting their stuff together?
when it's time to outsource 3PLtype of support.

SirDarryl Roundtree (22:44):
Sure, sure.
So the first thing is kind ofknow where you are from a
business standpoint and kind ofa peek behind the curtain.
Our sweet spot, our idealcustomer that we look for, is at
the tipping point when thebalance between sales, marketing
and the warehouse operation isstarting to teeter more toward

So if you're at a point whereyou're spending in an eight-hour
day, you're spending four hoursdoing your own picking, your
own, packing, your own shippingright?
If you're spending more thanhalf your day in that part of
the operation, you probably wantto start to consider, right?
Even with your own internal team, because a lot of entrepreneurs

they hire internally, they hirepeople to do that.
But then, even with doing that,you still get to a point where
you got space limitations.
You're still working out ofyour home, you're working out of
your basement, like I met ayoung lady the other night.
The other day she was doing herfulfillment out of her basement

and she's doing five, six,seven hundred orders a day out
of her basement.
It's too much.
It's taking over my house,taking over my home, and then
develop a checklist and on thatchecklist, for when you start to
look for 3PL partners, look for, I'd say, proximity.
So if you're a local businessand ideally you want to have a

local 3PL, so if you need to govisit the warehouse, you can
Most 3PLs, they have a 24-hourpolicy.
If you let them know, within 24hours you can go by and see
So local is preferred.
When it comes to pricing, youwant to target I'd say anyone

from like 15 to 25 percent ofkind of what your product is.
So let's say you got a productthat sells for 10 bucks, right,
you want to get your fulfillmentdone for, you know, two to
three bucks, I'm sorry, 10 to 15.
So a buck to a buck 50, maybe abuck 75.
And then, in that same breath,kind of look at the range of

services that they offer as well.
So is it purely, is it justfulfillment, like you know,
warehousing, storage andfulfillment, or are there some
additional services that theyoffer?
And finally, last butdefinitely not least, is
customer service right?
So you want, you absolutelywant a dedicated account
representative, you want some,you want a one throat to choke,

like I like to say, like youwant to be able to pick up the
phone and call someone and sayI've got an issue, I've got a
problem, can you help me?
And you know, if you're notable to reach that person, do
they have another mechanism?
You know email or phone numberthat you can get connected to
the, to the 3PL, and get somesupport.

Sonja Crystal Williams (25:41):
Perfect, Sir.
How can people get in touchwith you, find more information,
and do you have any specialpromotions or offers for anyone
who would want to take advantageof your service?

SirDarryl Roundtree (25:51):
Sure, so you can reach us at our website,
first and foremost, www.
We're under social media, asyou know.
Instagram @zipshipusa is oursocial media name, and then if

you're just looking for, likegeneral info, info@ zipshipusa.
com and you'll get get myself orsomeone from our team to
And you know we do have a fullsuite of services that we offer
everything that I just mentioned, including a dedicated account
manager, and we just launchedthat public locker network is

really a growing thing.
I know.
You know you and I we talkedabout it a while back, but it
finally launched our technology,our app.
It's called ShipSafe Network.
It's available on Google Playand Apple, the Apple Store and
So if you're a Shopify ownerand you're looking to gain
access to the growing publiclocker network, we've got about

1000 locations nationwide rightnow, but that number is growing
extremely, extremely quickly andit just enables your Shopify
clients to ship stuff into alocker so you can avoid so they
can avoid, you know porch piracyand have a lot more control of
their shipments.
You know downstream and you canalso process returns.

Sonja Crystal Williams (27:16):
Wow, a lot of amazing things in the
works for you Everyone.
I will drop those links so youcan access them if you want to
check it out.
Thank you so much again,SirDarryl, for being a part of
our show.
For everyone else, until nexttime, thank you, thank you.
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