With the downturn of the economy, I decided that 10 things might be helpful in assisting you in upgrading your transportation company. Here are some examples of things you can do.
1. Ask your customers what’s important to them
Talk with your existing customers -don’t just assume. Pick up the phone or send an e-mail and ask, “What can we do better for you or your company?” In today’s environment, they may have changed priorities. Your customers will be delighted you phoned. How about doing a customer survey? Using Survey Monkey or Question Pro and posting the answers on your Web site says you are listening to your customers.
2. Be Strategic
In this downturn, many businesses are thinly funded and thinly staffed. Consequently, businesses get into the habit of reacting. Most of us spend too much time putting out fires instead of guiding our businesses efforts as they “happen to us.” Make every action to create the business you want, not the business that happens. Bring in your team and write down some strategic objections and visualize the strategy in action. It will help your company get focused on its key objectives. Set objectives with your employees, not just your managers. Write down these objectives and tack them up to the bulletin board. Ask people if they think you’re all on track.
3. Differentiate your business from your competitors
Even if you are in an age-old segment of the transportation industry, you can differentiate it. This exercise should be done by writing down the phrase “our company, a business known for________.” Trying to come up with a new definition that distinguishes your company for its uniqueness in 25 words or less will help you in your task. Share this information with your managers and employees. Remind them what makes your company unique.
4. Partner -Where it makes sense “No man is an island.” That is especially true for all businesses. How can you work with suppliers, customers or complimentary companies to achieve your common objectives? If the partnership of efforts can not be articulated in a few bullet points, do not spend time on it.
5. Learn a new technology
The sheer number of applications available for the transportation business, especially online applications, is now so great it feels impossible to keep up with them. Do not give up because you feel overwhelmed.
Learn one new thing yourself. If you have been holding back from learning how to design a brochure or learning how to upload video from your flip camera to YouTube, now is the time to learn. Pick just one at a time. Get good at whatever you picked. You will gain confidence that will help you tackle other technologies and software applications later on. Encourage your staff to do the same.
6. Start a newsletter
Do whatever it takes to get a newsletter started. You can have multiple newsletters from different departments in your company sent to customers. Remember that e-mail is best used for communicating with existing customers and contacts. Use a simple e-mail marketing program like “Constant Contact”, “Vertical Response”, or Campaigner” to manage your subscriber database and compose professional looking e-mails. Just get started. Remember, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
7. Cement relationships with key customers
It is far less expensive to get a new sale from an existing customer, than to go out prospecting afresh to close a new customer.
Make sure your relationships are strong. Work on them. In a recession, customers are your life vest. Consider holding an annual customer conference.
8. Automate a process
We are always running into issues when it comes to accounting and invoicing that take up more time than we like.
9. Spruce up your working environment A cluttered workspace leads to a cluttered mind. It will make all of your employees feel better about their environment and themselves.
10. Network, network, network Online networking has replaced over 75% of in-person networking. You can reach lots of people you have never met and start up a relationship. You would be surprised how effective Twitter, Facebook and LinkdIn use can create more Web site traffic
What things are you going to do to improve your company this year?
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News