Get in the groove

July 11, 2012

What’s the difference between a ‘rut’ and a ‘groove’ when it comes to trucking? Being in a ‘rut’ would indicate stagnation. In other words, you’re spinning your wheels, causing your trucking business to seemingly stay in one place without moving forward. Your business is either barely meeting the goals you’ve set or not meeting the revenue needs required to grow. There’s just enough revenue to keep you in business as you’re meeting your break-even point, but there never seems to be any capital left over at month’s end to even think about expanding.

You’re in the ‘groove’ when everything is running smoothly with productive and profitable freight lanes. Each of your trucks is showing a profit at the end of each quarter; things are running like clockwork, a well-oiled logistics machine. You have the revenue to meet your capital and profit goals and grow at a sustainable and manageable rate.

So how do you move your operation from being stuck in a rut to running in the groove?

-Evaluate where your operation is out of step with the rest of the logistics world. This could be as simple as being in the right place at the wrong time. For example, you’ve got great outbound freight to a destination, but once delivered, there’s a two- or three-day wait for decent-paying freight to start your return leg. Going from the rut into the groove might mean adjusting the schedule with your outbound shipper to have their loads arrive at the destination on the days when return freight is more readily available to load.

- Determine whether your goals are attainable. Have you set goals that are too high? Think in terms of an ‘A’ frame ladder. The top step is your ultimate goal. Are you trying to make that goal in a single leap from the ground? If so, keep in mind that just like getting to the top of an ‘A’ frame ladder, it’s necessary to take it one step at a time. Any other means of attempting to expedite the climb will land most companies flat on the ground, in worse shape than when they began. Make sure your goals are attainable, and if they’re too lofty, then set several single-step goals that will help you climb to the top.

- Write your goals on a piece of paper, then put that paper where you can quickly see it on a daily basis—in your wallet, on your desk, or even in the truck cab. Don’t forget to update your goals periodically.

- Make a systematic list of how you’ll reach each goal.

All of your goal-setting and planning is worthless unless you take action. Fight the urge to procrastinate.

To get out of a rut and into the groove requires action above all else. Your actions can then spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s.

About the Author

Timothy Brady

Timothy Brady is an author, columnist, speaker and business coach who provides information, training and educational presentations for small to large trucking companies, logistics organizations and community groups. He’s the business editor for American Trucker Magazine, the “Answer Guy” for trucking education website TruckersU.com, an author and business editor for Write Up The Road Publishing & Media and freelance journalist. An expert in crafting solutions to industry challenges after 25 years in trucking, Brady’s held positions from company driver to owner-operator to small trucking business owner. Along with sales and business management, he has a well-rounded wealth of experience and knowledge.

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