Partnerships for Growth

Partnerships for Growth

You don’t lead in a vacuum.

Successful organizations are built with the blood, sweat and tears of many partners – mentors, coaches, employees, clients and vendors. Choosing the right partners to support the company vision becomes a key part of the success.

As with all important decisions, finding the right partners requires a process: first you must assess what you want from a partner and how that relationship can provide value for you, for them and for your organization. By determining your goals from such a partnership, you can begin to ask questions that will verify alignment between potential partners, their goals and your own. Utilize testimonials and references – personal and professional – to get a complete profile.

Do they complement you?

Unfortunately, the downside to certain analytics tools and algorithms match you with like-minded and homogeneous connections, whether they be people or information or opinions. While goals should be aligned, diversity of thought and opinion has greater value in making decisions. The broader the expertise and knowledge, the better the coverage of potential risk factors and potential obstacles than a single mind or train of thought can provide.

If your company is filled with variations of yourself, you are limiting the creativity and innovation opportunities to build and develop the organization.

Do they challenge you?

As an entrepreneur, who is inherently driven forward, and as a visionary, who sees opportunity at every turn, you can become distracted from the leadership necessities of the operation. Other leaders may become paralyzed from growth by increasing responsibility and the fear of failing – both yourself and those who depend on you.

The right partner will not let you be guided down wrong pathways. They will point out folly and push you when your own psyche is holding you back. They can help you overcome these challenges by providing a new lens of vision. They can help to share responsibility and allow you to focus on the important, versus urgent, business roles to improve and grow.

Do they support you?

Alignment to the vision is paramount to achieving success. Initiatives live or die by the focus and support they are given. When decisions are made, the right partner becomes your lieutenant to help communicate the expectations, marshalling team buy-in and directing collaboration to properly execute. They become champions of the process and add their voice in support of the change behavior.

Partners are essential to your company’s success. They can be found throughout the stakeholders in your company. The more partners you have and partnerships you develop, the stronger your foundation and credibility will become. When you treat your relationships with your colleagues, subordinates, coaches (both internally and externally) as partnerships, you unlock greater opportunities.

Respect: Given and Earned

Respect: Given and Earned

Your organizational vision and strategy are the framework to achieve greatness. However, without the right people – in the right positions, on the right path and making the right decisions – greatness is only a dream.

Plans and intentions are only as successful as the execution in delivering results. Analogy alert: All the football schemes, formations and play design are useless without the players who perform and the collective team psychology to seamlessly support each other.

For your business to be successful, you need to have (and recruit) strong, competent development projects – people who can execute based on the business priorities, who make prudent decisions in alignment with the organizational objectives and who continue to build and refine their skills to increase effectiveness.
Your people need to have the Grit (work ethic and fortitude), the Will (the intrinsic motivation to succeed) and the Capacity (the mental and physical wherewithal) to properly deliver on the business promise to your customers, your suppliers, your investors and each other.

As a leader to your company and to the people who breathe life into the vision, you have a responsibility to find, guide and train the best possible team. Finding them requires the creation of a valuable brand that draws the best and brightest to your organization. Your company brand must have a clear vision of success, the expectations and metrics to keep you on the path to success and a proven program to engage and develop your people to reach their own career milestones.

People who are aligned to the company goals, who have the tools and processes for success and who have regular opportunities to grow, will move your organization forward with greater acceleration. The right people, focused on the right priorities, will drive your business. They are the personification and the actualization of your business mission, which ultimately improves your brand and improves your recruiting potential as you grow.

Focus your attention on your people with review, recognition and reward to keep them aligned to the proper process and motivated to achieving mutual success. Strategy, properly supported with the right people, can bring your dreams into reality.

Overcoming Hidden Obstacles and the Permission to Succeed

Overcoming Hidden Obstacles and the Permission to Succeed

Every business (that is a going concern) has experienced success.

Many brokerage businesses achieve certain levels of success through the sheer will and drive of their entrepreneurial founders and leadership. However, the wider opportunities that exist are often hidden from these leaders due to inherent uncertainties and deep seated fears of exponential success.

In some instances, these leaders are able to create a viable and thriving business that harnesses their own skills and strengths, but often overlooks their skill gaps, which ultimately limits the growth opportunities available to them. In other instances, the leaders accept their current level of success as the only (or maximum) success that they are destined to achieve. Without a resource or partner to help overcome these limitations, the business plateaus and motivation decreases, further limiting opportunity where beliefs become calcified into a ‘good enough’ mentality.

As an owner (and/or leader) of a business, you have a responsibility to the stakeholders of this ‘going concern’ to create a sustainable and growing organization that supports its employees, its customer base, its vendors, its community and its owners to maximize value.

You can do more, you can achieve more, you can earn more and you can share more.

First, you have to make the choice – the choice to invest in your business to make it stronger in the market, more agile to protect against external obstacles and more effective in providing service solutions.

If there is no failure (only success and learning), risks hold no power over your future. Risks are only shrouded opportunities.

You have the power to be great and to achieve the success that you have envisioned (in those quiet moments of reflection). Surround yourself with people who make you better and those that you can make better.

5 JEDI STRATEGIES FOR A SUCCESSFUL APPROACH TO BROKERAGE

5 JEDI STRATEGIES FOR A SUCCESSFUL APPROACH TO BROKERAGE

Training

“ALWAYS PASS ON WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED” – YODA

Education and development for the people within your organization are keys to building a successful and healthy company.

Invest in the future of your company to develop skills and insights.

Improve overall decision making through increased relevant knowledge.

Commitment

“DO OR DO NOT – THERE IS NO TRY!” – YODA

Trying is an activity that has no true defined outcome. It is only effort for effort’s sake and does not provide a context for improvement.

Failure is an acceptable result only when there is a plan to learn from it. Commitment to the result will create the needed lens for finding the better solution and move you forward in your approach.

Belief

“I DON’T BELIEVE” – LUKE
“THAT IS WHY YOU FAIL” – YODA

Belief in the goal provides the force that allows you to overcome the obstacles that exist in the path to success.

Belief provides focus and collective belief provides alignment that magnifies the focus to drive you towards your goal.

Without belief, energy and effort lack a proper motivation for success.

Patience

“PATIENCE YOU MUST HAVE MY YOUNG PADAWAN.” – YODA

Change is inevitable, but change follows a pathway that cannot be parsed within specific time constraints.
With Belief and Commitment to the outcome, the success WILL occur with the proper efforts applied accordingly and in alignment.

It WILL happen, do not FORCE it.

Abundance

“TRAIN YOURSELF TO LET GO OF EVERYTHING YOU FEAR TO LOSE.” – YODA

The Law of Abundance guides us to see that there is success and fulfillment readily available within the world.

We must let go of the fetters and belief that there is only a scarcity of resources, time and energy and retrain our minds and thoughts to recognize opportunity and success.

Lists, Lists and more Lists

Lists, Lists and more Lists

As we approach the end of the year, your inbox and social feeds will be filled with lists, lists and more lists detailing the best of 2017, the Top 10 ‘whatevers’ and the Best ‘whatchamacallits’ from this past year. Unfortunately, the time value of these lists is minimal. They exist as reductionist platforms to simplify and curate what has already happened into a bite sized delivery.

Reflecting on the past, however, can serve a purpose. It allows us an opportunity to see what has been accomplished (whether successfully or otherwise) to act as the benchmark or starting point for the next stage of our development. What happens next is profoundly more important – our choices and our focus.

By knowing where we are today and where we want to go, we can have clarity on the context for our energy focus and the proper decision matrices for development towards that defined success. This system is now a structure that simplifies your decisions and self-aligns towards the goals. Recalibration of processes becomes easier. The more thought, time and energy that are focused on the outcome, the faster you can achieve your goals. The ‘right’ decisions, those that are aligned to your goals, become clearer and easier to make.

When your team is equally focused on these goals, the speed to achievement increases exponentially. Including the team in the development and definition of your goals increases their involvement, ownership and collaboration. Work with them on both the long term strategy and the short term initiatives to fulfill the vision and satisfy the mission.

The lists in your life should be built around what you are trying to achieve and the methods you choose to bring about that success.

Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the second day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the third day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the fourth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the fifth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the sixth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the seventh day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the eighth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Eight out of service
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the ninth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Nine cross dock shipments
Eight out of service
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the tenth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Ten expedited
Nine cross dock shipments
Eight out of service
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Eleven acquisitions
Ten expedited
Nine cross dock shipments
Eight out of service
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Saint Transport gave to me,
Twelve weather issues
Eleven acquisitions
Ten expedited
Nine cross dock shipments
Eight out of service
Seven damaged pallets
Six drivers lumping
Five CTBs
Four calling leads
Three quick pays
Two loadboards matched and
A mandate for E-L-Ds now

Where are we Going?

Where are we Going?

TSP Business Focus Survey Results

As we approach the end of 2017 and prepare for a tumultuous 2018, we wanted to discover where our network of transportation leaders was placing the focus of their time and energy. For all that participated in the survey, we thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your concerns and your resource deployment.

The full results can be found here, but we wanted to provide some insights that we gathered from the data and the responses.

Sales Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Retention of existing customers

Under the 80-20 rule, 80% of business for 2018 will be manifested in the current customer makeup. Properly servicing a majority of that current business is essential to maintaining your current revenue, but organizations need to be diligent in reviewing the profitability trends of each client to make sure that the focus on maintaining top line revenue is not at the expense of margin and profitability.

Operations Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Process

Maintaining a consistent approach to customer service that is repeatable and shared across all aspects of the business helps to keep the customers engaged and satisfied in the event that certain people within your organization may depart. The customers should love the company and the company’s service and not be dependent on a particular individual within the company.

Carrier Relations Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Negotiation

Negotiation can be a very transactional process in brokerage, particularly in the spot market environment. It can be difficult to manage the nuances of negotiation when decisions need to be made in minutes. Moving beyond a transactional model, fueled by load boards, towards a single source customer commitment will allow for negotiations based on larger need sets and strategic relationships.

People Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Training

Brokerage Training is really separated into two main development areas: Process and Skills. The system and process training, the ‘blocking and tackling’ of any brokerage is necessary for the tasks of load entry, carrier onboarding and billing – the functional aspect of the daily routines. The skills development allows each member of the team to become more effective in how they perform these functional tasks. Organizations with stronger, higher level skills development in their frontline teams are able to differentiate their service beyond the commodity of transportation service towards a more consultative approach to serving the customer and their needs.

Technology Focus:

Top Energy Focus: TMS

Building your brokerage for the future requires the right technology tools and partnerships. The TMS options of today offer more complete technology solutions beyond simple load processing. They incorporate or integrate with sales, marketing and analytics tools to better manage the customer and carrier relationships. But the price tags on many require proper due diligence to find the right solution for today, tomorrow and the next stages of your organization’s needs.

Business Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Cash Flow

Cash Flow is the life blood of any brokerage. Understanding the DSO (Days Sales Outstanding) and the DPO (Days Payable Outstanding) will provide the necessary funding need metrics of the company to meet financial obligations and, more importantly, invest in the company’s future growth opportunities.

However, understanding and preparing for the risks associated with brokerage operations can help you avoid the punitive costs of uncertainty – large claims, customer default or personnel errors. Set up the right processes, insurance protections and system alerts to protect against the moderate-to-catastrophic risks that could cripple your business.

Strategy Focus:

Top Energy Focus: Growth

Overall, by looking at the top time energy focus areas, there are some inconsistencies. Growth and Retention, while not incompatible, are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Growth is a result of existing customer expansion and new customer acquisition. The lower energy focus on marketing is also at odds with a strategic focus on growth. How we promote our brand and our service offerings/benefits is an important component of lead acquisition and customer expansion.

In general, the top priorities identified in the survey are highly focused on the urgency of the daily motivations and tactical actions of the organization, but are less focused on the importance and strategic directions toward true growth pursuits.

Coordinating the time and energy of your company requires that the leaders and the frontline operators have a collective vision of success – complete with clear expectations, the right measurements and the opportunity to grow themselves as they grow the business.

Having the right partnerships and mentors to build and execute the vision are necessary to achieving the success of which your company is capable. To learn more about how TranStrategy Partners can help you achieve your success and maximize the value of your organization, please contact us at 888-625-1139 or via email at andrew@transtrategypartners.com.

Urgent See, Important Do.

Urgent See, Important Do.

Focusing on the Urgent can keep you from reaching your fullest potential.

Once you have determined your goals for success, you must stay focused on the actions necessary to achieve it. However, the competing forces of The Urgent and The Important are vying for your time and energy.

The Urgent pulls you, as a leader, into the operation: to book one more load; to make the collection call; or, to find the next customer. The Urgent is tactical and task oriented.

The Important allows you to plan the resource deployment for proper execution: to evaluate the new technology options; to hire, train and set proper behavioral expectations; to strategize about the best alternatives to overcome the obstacles before you. The important is strategic and big picture oriented.

The Urgent is the aggregation of the activities that brought you to your current state. There is comfort in performing the tasks that are easily recognizable and can be checked off the list in the name of ‘accomplishment’. The Urgent requires skills and thinking that we already have. The Urgent doesn’t ask more of us, only our time and energy.

The Important requires steps into an unfamiliar area. It has high rewards, but it has uncertainty – that is, by its very nature, uncomfortable. The Important requires a different set of skills that stretch what we know into new areas. The Important asks more of us than we currently are aware that we possess.

The Urgent brings us the same or incrementally better results.

The Important accelerates us and allows for maximization of results.

Focusing your attention, time and energy on The Important over The Urgent allows you and your organization to be positioned for stronger growth and become more adaptive to the obstacles that invariably will be placed in your pathway to success.

Social Media Tips for Logistics Professionals

Social Media Tips for Logistics Professionals

How to succeed without wasting valuable time

Social media is a wonderful way to stay top-of-mind with your customers and prospects. But, many logistics professionals are hesitant to use social media. They lack of time to learn and maintain social accounts while running a business deters many from using it. Some people opt to use automated tools to post canned social media content for them. This saves time, but the posts are typically bland and uninspiring. If you want to use social media in a more personalized way, but not waste valuable time, here are some basic tips on how to succeed.

1. Set a Goal:

What do you want to accomplish by using social media? Clearly define your goals and how you plan to measure them. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, website traffic, grow your email list, etc? Clear goals will help you determine the type of content you should publish and on what platform.  Use our Social Media Goal worksheet to help you in this process.

 

2. Know Your Audience:

Who are you trying to reach and which social media platform is the best to reach them? This will help you determine where you should spend time (see the platform overview at the end of this article). Once you get started, check the analytics of your page to see if you are attracting the right audience. On Facebook, you can even look at when your users are online to best determine what times of the day you should post.

 

3. Keep it Short:

Lengthy content should be on your website, not in a social media post. Keep your posts short and to the point.

 

4. Make it Interesting:

An image or graphic will highlight your content better and increase the chance that your audience will read, like or share your post.

 

5. Mix it Up:

Try to balance educational industry topics with inspirational posts. Informational content brings value to your followers and will increase your credibility. But people love to share inspirational images and quotes, and these tend to get more likes and shares.

 

6. Trust the Source:

One of the easier ways to stay active on social media is to find and share content already published. Just make sure it is a known and trusted source, not just your neighbor Bob’s opinion blog.

 

7. Be Social:

Remember to interact with others, not just push your content to others. Share articles, follow people and companies, and then like their posts so you can participate in the social aspect. This is the online version of networking, so incorporate some give and take. I pick up new page views and followers each time I spend 5 minutes liking other people’s posts.

 

8. Learn From It:

Monitor how your posts are doing so you can better serve your audience. Are certain topics or posts better liked and shared? Give them more of what they like!

 

9. Measure It:

What goals did you establish in the beginning? Make sure to measure how you are hitting your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). You may need to adjust your approach if the results aren’t measuring up.

 

Social media can be a great tool to reach a wider audience and to reinforce your value with customers. If this still sounds like too much, you can always choose a marketing partner to handle your social media presence for you.

Happy tweeting and posting!

DOWNLOAD your social media planning worksheet

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM OVERVIEW:

Where should you spend your time online? Here is our brief overview on the three most popular sites for logistics professionals.

LinkedIn is known as the professional social media platform. This is a great place to reach your target audience. You can sponsor your content and select industries, titles, cities, etc., that you want to target. Three out of five professionals using LinkedIn say they gain new clients from it.

TIP: Many people will feel more comfortable connecting on LinkedIn rather than on Facebook.

Facebook is a great place to market to the general consumer. You would be surprised by how many people are on Facebook and how often they check it. According to Pew Research Center, 79% of internet users use Facebook. And three quarters of those Facebook users visit the platform EVERY day. Facebook is also a good opportunity for your personal friends and contacts to get familiar with what you do.

TIP: Trying to ‘friend’ a prospect or customer on their personal profile can been seen as invasive and too personal. Like their business page and ask for likes on your business page.

Twitter is a great place to interact with other businesses and to find informative articles that may interest your audience. Connecting with prospects isn’t the primary goal on this platform. Many logistics professionals are sharing industry insights and starting discussions with fellow industry professionals on Twitter.

TIP: Utilizing a trending hashtag in your tweet allows you to gather more views on this platform. Try using #logistics, #freight, or #3PL in your posts.


 

Erika DeBlasi is the TranStrategy Partners’ Marketing Coach and has worked as a marketing executive in freight brokerage and financial services industries. She drives the marketing, branding, advertising and communication activities for a variety of companies in addition to providing a broad spectrum of marketing and communication training.
>> Schedule Your Complimentary Marketing Review with her

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer

Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Two movies express the tenuous balance of these ideals: The Fisher King (dir. Terry Gilliam) and Good Will Hunting (dir. Gus Van Sant). The former is a narrative in accepting responsibility for one’s own actions and the latter is a narrative about when to accept and forgive. (note that both are rated R for explicit language, drug use and violent scenes)

Obstacles to success are omnipresent in our lives. How we deal with them is the measure of our leadership. We can place blame, accept blame and/or try to understand the narratives that led to the obstacle’s existence in the first place.

Regulatory changes, natural disasters and other such external forces are among the first group. These factors cannot be changed, but you can both prepare for them and work to mitigate their negative effects.
Competition, inefficiency and stagnation are factors that can be addressed and changed. By developing a proper culture and strategy within your organization, you can improve processes and accelerate growth to achieve the success that you envision.

As with the Serenity Prayer, your role as a leader is encapsulated by the wisdom to direct energy, focus and inspiration towards areas that can be properly and usefully affected. Do not expend energy railing against unstoppable forces and immovable objects. Focus your mental energies on the areas that can effectively change your situation for the better.