Building the Basics of a Haulage Business
It's not enough to sign up for a few haulage jobs and expect success in the transport industry. If you want longevity, you need some business basics.
As with any enterprise, when it comes to making it big in the transport and logistics industry, there are myriad factors to consider when you set up a new business. Passion for driving and determination to make a living from self employed haulage jobs are vital ingredients to your success, but if you're looking for a sustained, long term career in the industry you need to nurture and grow your business.
Mirror a Successful Business Model
The transport industry is one sector where imitation is the best way of establishing yourself in what is, by nature, a very competitive space. While you may not consider yourself on the same plane as the global movers and shakers like DHL, CEVA or the DB Group, there's a reason companies like these have become such giants in the industry. Research the roots, history and growth of your corporate heroes and you'll see a host of basic commonalities that every successful logistics business follows. While taking on a few haulage jobs may not be on the same scale (at first!), studying such effective models and establishing your own small enterprise on the same foundations and building blocks will set you on the right course from the get-go.
Write a Business Plan
You know how the lyrics go: "You've got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how're you going to make a dream come true?" But in the world of business (especially a new business), having a dream is not enough – you also have to have a plan. You wouldn’t set out on a trans-world adventure without a road map or GPS, so how could you consider setting out on the most important financial journey of your life without a decent road map or co-ordinates?
The idea of writing a business plan sends shivers up the spine of many new entrepreneurs, but without it you'll be driving blind. If you really can't face the idea of doing it yourself, you can, of course, employ a professional. However, any expert will tell you that writing your own plan is an integral part of laying the foundations and reinforcing not only your goals and targets, but also the fundamental ethos of your business.
Creating a basic road map of where you're going and the steps required to get there isn’t only important for your own sake but if you're heading to a financial institution cap in hand to rustle up some capital, a sustainable, working business plan is the very first thing they'll ask to see.
Network, Network, Network – and Keep on Networking
Even the best-laid plans can come to nothing if you can’t find the right people to work with.
Networking doesn't have to mean attending events, trying to slip your business card into the breast pocket of CEOs. Today's networking is about a more holistic approach of connecting with peers and potential customers through social media and community. For the transport industry, the most effective and instant way of networking is via an online freight exchange – where users up and down the supply chain can not only interact in real time to trade cargo and haulage jobs, but also connect with their peers to forge mutually-beneficial relationships.
Anyone starting a new business doing haulage jobs will inevitably encounter challenges along the way, however, if one approaches the venture with purpose and planning, it can be an exciting and lucrative industry to be a part of.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day haulage jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.