Ben Durand isn’t afraid to take on new challenges. When asked about the risks in launching a new business and maintaining its stability in the market, he offers four suggestions:
• Do you have the right team?
• Is there a market opportunity?
• Do you have the right solution?
• Do you have the funds to support the company until you are able to generate revenue?
“From my past experience, I’ve learned that there are many risks and challenges and your vision can change as you learn of new information and/or competition,” says the 2015 Harbert College graduate in finance. “One of the areas of potential failure is entering a market, assuming you have what customers want and missing the mark by not having a compelling enough offering that will drive them to switch from their current provider.”
Durand and select business partners took on the challenge of starting a new company—Point2Point Global—just this summer. Point2Point, headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, offers alternative and cost-effective overseas shipping solutions.
The former backup quarterback on Auburn University’s football team believes this new venture has the right criteria to succeed—answering his aforementioned four-point question. “We clearly have the right founding team and have increased our bench strength with six others that are seasoned, successful professionals in their respective disciplines,” says Durand, Point2Point’s co-founder and vice president of business development. “There is also a huge international market opportunity that is growing rapidly, given how easy it is today to be connected with people globally. Also, we are well-positioned to solve the problems that exist today and our early market testing has validated that we have the right solution at the right time.” Point2Point Global is self-funded, Durand says.
Durand, who makes his home near Boston, understands how important international shipping is to ecommerce retailers, marketers, and publishers. He also understands their challenges.
“The majority of people internationally that try to buy from US ecommerce retailers abandon their shopping carts when they see the return policies or the fees associated with shipping goods to their location,” he says. “Similarly, consumers internationally that subscribe to publications, magazines and loyalty programs originating in the US can have issues receiving the materials they expect to receive, in a timely manner and in good condition.”
The idea: target international publishers, advertising agencies and ecommerce retailers, and use what Durand calls an “asset-lite” approach by using a network of “final mile carriers to provide new, customized shipping options.”
Durand, who has served as vice president of sales for One Call Facility Services in Billerica, Massachusetts, and vice president of sales and marketing at Ice Melt Manufacturers in Chelsea, Massachusetts, likened his new business challenge to his freshman year at Auburn. That worked out well, by the way.
“I didn’t know a single person on campus,” says the Massachusetts native. “It was tough at first, but as I met people through my classes, fraternity, dorm and campus organizations, my network grew.”
By the time he was a senior, Durand had successfully walked on to the football team, won Zeta Tau Alpha’s “Big Man on Campus” philanthropy event for his vocal and stage talent, and served as lead anchor at the campus-wide Eagle Eye sports show.
“Now I am juggling a new company, a new offering, and a new industry all while trying to plan a wedding—OK, my bride-to-be has that part handled—but I feel that my Auburn experience and career to this point have prepared me for success,” he adds.