Are You Looking Ahead?

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I hope everyone has a great holiday and is totally recharged for the New Year – it’s a Fresh Start, Right so lets rip into it right. Not so fast friends an honest hard look at what we accomplished last year is necessary first, how can we think about next year until last years efforts have been evaluated. Self-examination is a very scary thing for some of us, how do we stack up to ourselves, its been said may times that we are our own worst critics in most cases.

So here’s the million-dollar question what do you expect out of life, personal and business compared to the effort you put into fulfilling your expectations? Remember this is a retrospective exercise and to keep it simple lets go back to January 2013 as a time frame.

Okay now its time to take a long look in the mirror and do the gut check thing, sound painful to some of you, I bet, do it though its necessary, no pain no gain. I know right now that there are three types of people reading this article and here you are.

Those who want great success but are only giving minimum effort, that’s what keeps many of us, awake at night frustrated second-guessing ourselves, the unfulfilled gap. The good news of coarse is that we have all been given the opportunity to change if we so choose and we can do it at anytime. There are two choices available to you folks either lower your success expectations or kick it up a gear and get at it. You’ll feel better either way

Others of you will think it this whole article is a waste of time because you probably don’t bother to set any kind of goals for yourself personally or in your businesses. You are the unbelievers, I can hear you now “all this talk about self improvement and goal setting getting better year over year. Stop giving me this drivel Haight and let me read about a good rant ya got mixed up in already, stir it up boy!” I was one of these drivers for quite awhile so I will be patient and wait for the day that hopefully the light might come on. Until then mediocrity be your curse folks.

Last but certainly not least is the achievers; you know the ones who have their ducks in a row. These readers are actually looking in the mirror on a regular basis because their liking what they see. They put a plan together and worked it until they achieved it. They know that their effort is in direct correlation to their outcome and they like it that way. A bump in the road is not looked on as a chance to complain and play victim it is a complication that needs to be managed and overcome.

So what do we review from last year and what do we set as goals for next? Here are some of my thoughts on this.

Owner Operators should have business goals in the following areas,

1. All variable expenses including fuel and maintenance.
2. Gross revenue.
3. Achievement of your yearly budget.
4. Contribution to your long-term goals i.e. retirement, debt elimination etc.
5. Management of your support teams i.e. your repair facility financial advisor/bookkeeper. Carrier revenue stream.
6. Tax management
7. To investigate the latest innovation yes innovations what did you do last year do ensure that you were aware of new opportunities to be more successful? Either by lowering you operating cost or increasing your revenue.

Company Drivers goals might include the following

1. Gross revenue
2. Tax management
3. Contribution to your long-term goals i.e. retirement, debt elimination etc.

There is a couple of old adages that apply here. Firstly you cannot manage what is not measured, second what gets measured will see a 10% improvement even without a formal plan of change. Strange uh! How can this be, its simple awareness of where you are on a particular goal will open you eyes to the effect your actions have on the result.

This is tough work and it needs your attention in every aspect for you to be successful. Sitting around complaining about your situation is an exercise in futility although we all do it to some degree. Unfortunately some of us feel comfortable in this self-pity zone and simply stay there. You know who these folks are so do yourself a favor and try and avoid them, misery Loves Company and Apathy don’t go there!

Others who recognize a situation that needs to change waste little time playing the victim game, they analyze where there at, how they got there and what it will take to fix the problem to their satisfaction, and move on.

Bet your bottom dollar that 2014 will have its challenges just as 2013 had its unique challenges, count on it. But let me ask a question who do you think will stand a better chance of being in a better position when 2015 gets here and we close the books on 2014? Will it be those of you who have a plan for success or those who just roll with the punches?

When you’re considering the words you have just read please take time to reflect on just why you’re doing this anyway. All of us have loved ones and friends we depend on. So it is quite normal and acceptable to think about goals in this area also. How will I strengthen my relationship with those who are most important to me and let them know how much they mean to me? All you tough old truckers would be lost without your support networks, don’t take them for granted, think it through driver! One parting thought, an old proverb goes like this “A plan without action is a daydream, Action without a plan is a nightmare”.

Safe Trucking
Yours truly,

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Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

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