This series is underwritten by UPS. Discover the new logistics. It levels playing fields and lets you act locally or globally. It\u2019s for the individual entrepreneur, the small business, or the large company. Put the new logistics to work for you. Here at Small Business Trends we like to discover what's on the minds of small biz owners and entrepreneurs. So at the recent GrowCo conference April 6-8, 2011 in Las Vegas, I knew what I wanted to ask Luke Mauricio, Small Business Marketing Manager for UPS (pictured below), when I had the chance to sit down with him. My question was simple: what do small business owners attending the conference want to know about? In other words, what's on their minds when they talk to a company like UPS? According to Luke, not many people had questions about basic shipping services. Most people seem to have a good handle on that. Instead, the questions were about: (1) How do you ship internationally? (2) How do you save money on shipping? Well, seeing as how I had Luke's ear, I sat down with him for a chat to get some information about these questions. On shipping internationally... The reason this question comes up so much is that\u00a0"You're dealing with unknowns when shipping to another country,"\u00a0according to Luke. You're probably not familiar with local customs regulations.\u00a0 Business practices may be different.\u00a0 Currencies are different.\u00a0 Even the language may be unknown to you.\u00a0 It's natural to feel out of your element. When it comes to international shipping, Luke says "UPS wants to inspire confidence" -- confidence that items will be delivered and that someone will help them slice through the red tape. For instance, Luke pointed out that UPS has partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service (part of the U.S. Department of Commerce) to help give businesses information about exporting. UPS also makes available an online resource library with information about shipping internationally. There you will find a downloadable international shipping guide (PDF).\u00a0 The guide explains things such as the documentation used in international shipping -- example, the Certificate of Origin document.\u00a0 Another useful feature on the UPS international resource library is the country snapshots.\u00a0 These snapshots are concise documents giving you facts and figures for doing business in specific countries.\u00a0 Countries include Canada, China, Brazil, Vietnam, Poland and India. On saving money ... According to Luke, a goal should be to create an efficient and effective supply chain. That can have a direct impact on your customers' experience. "An effective supply chain is not so much about cutting expenses, but about your customer's experience.\u00a0 There are a lot of paybacks from an effective supply chain.\u00a0 It becomes a comparative advantage for your company." And sometimes the bigger issue businesses face is a cash flow issue, i.e., having to wait too long to get payment in hand.\u00a0 "Not a lot of people know that UPS has a finance subsidiary called UPS Capital.\u00a0 We actually give out small business loans,"\u00a0 says Luke Mauricio.\u00a0 Loans are designed to bridge a short-term situation a business may face, such as the gap between delivering products and getting paid for them. UPS is itself an entrepreneurial story.\u00a0 It was founded 104 years ago in Seattle by two teenagers who took out a $100 loan.\u00a0 According to Luke, "Their first business model was very very simple.\u00a0 They were bicycle messengers who delivered customer purchases from Nordstroms, the department store."\u00a0 The two young entrepreneurs saw a need and expanded to meet that need for package delivery services. For additional coverage of Growco, see Why You Should Never Define Your Financial Goals as Revenue. Photos above: (1) View of Las Vegas from my hotel balcony at the beautiful Cosmopolitan Hotel, at night. (2) Luke Mauricio during a few quiet moments at the UPS Lounge at #GrowCo.\u00a0 Note:\u00a0 UPS subsidized my attendance at the conference.