Too Busy Running Your Business to Build it?

Too Busy Running Your Business to Build it?

At TranStrategy Partners we’ve successfully worked with hundreds of business owners to help them focus their energy, and the energy of their staff, to plan for and grow their business.

Later we often hear clients say, “I wish I’d have done this sooner.”

Why didn’t they?

Most often, they were too busy. Yes, too busy running their business to build it.

Entrepreneurs have their hands full. In the freight brokerage business there is no end to the things a leader could be doing. You have to hire and fire. Deal with problem shipments and carriers. Manage billing, accounts receivable and carrier settlements.

Most leaders barely have time to service existing customers, much less sell new ones.

In the hustle and bustle of a typical day, taking time to consider what you want the business to become takes a back seat. When the action breaks, you want a break too.

We understand. We’re entrepreneurs too.

So how do you find time to plan and grow your business?

First, force yourself to set aside some time-maybe an hour or so. Put it on your calendar, and keep the appointment. Close the door. Turn off your phone. Eliminate all distractions, including thoughts about what else needs to get done or how you should have dealt with the most recent crisis.

Then answer just one question:

When my time here is done, what do I want my business to look like?

With this one step, you’ll learn two things:

1. How to make the time needed to work on your business
2. The desired state of your business-what you want it to be

There’s a lot more to do of course. Seeking some outside assistance comes in handy. Find someone who can take an impartial look at your company, assess its current state, and collaborate with you (and keep you accountable) in planning and implementing a strategy to move you toward that desired state.

Home Grown Talent vs Free Agency: Hiring Well in the Transportation Industry

Home Grown Talent vs Free Agency: Hiring Well in the Transportation Industry

Finding the right talent to accelerate your brokerage growth can be a challenging exercise – sometimes there are diamonds in the rough and other times the diamonds are too rough. The goal of any recruiting program is to find the best fit for your strategy and your culture. Too often, management is focused on the immediate revenue return potential instead of a longer view on consistent, predictable revenue growth model. However, a newer salesforce can be slow to gain traction and can become discouraged before it can make noticeable gains. Managing expectations in finding and developing the team becomes the primary role of the organizational leadership. Both talent pools can offer strong results, but careful attention must be paid to adherence to the organization’s strategic plan and culture.

Free Agent Pros

Successful salespeople can inject energy and momentum into a company that may have become stagnant and they can accelerate existing growth. Managed and compensated properly, sales success is contagious. Bringing on a proven sales professional can set the right tone for the team with a focus on growth through investment. Sales professionals bring valuable practices and processes to targeting prospects, lead development and nurturing skills.

Free Agent Cons

In a world of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, finding the all-star sales rep that can bring an immediate push to revenue is very difficult. Hiring companies are banking not only on the historical book of business, but on the track record of success. It is important to understand the sales methodology and process of an experienced transportation sales professional to see if they can align to your existing process.

Be aware that, if a sales rep is looking for other opportunities, he/she may carry some baggage related to their previous company.

New Hire Pros

By enlisting new and fresh people into a transportation sales role, you have a clean canvas available to create the perfect salesperson. It is important to find the talent that embodies and exhibits, through past action and previous responsibility, the behavioral components of future success in the transportation industry.

New Hire Cons

Ramp up time and consistent progression are often the largest hurdles to overcome when brining on a new and untested salesperson. Folks who are new to sales don’t often understand that rejection and disappointment are part of the process and that failure comes before success. Attention must be paid to the process – with regular communication and feedback to reduce burnout.

Align for Success

By hiring for cultural, behavioral and organizational fit of salesforce members, the company can build a team from a strong foundation. As with any hire, you want to find alignment to your organizational vision and goals. The faces, voices, hearts and brains that make hundreds (and thousands) of contacts every day must be fully invested in the company’s plans for success.

Train and Develop Skills to Maximize Results

Invest in your people and give them the tools and skills to achieve. Create a comprehensive and sustainable training and development program that, in turn, creates a winning team that will drive your growth and success.

To learn more about hiring and training programs designed for brokerage success, visit our website – www.gotranstrategy.com – or reach out to me directly – andrew@transtrategypartners.com

Re-purpose Your Employees

Re-purpose Your Employees

Purpose and Vision are key components in the development of the proper culture for your organization.
Clearly communicating that Purpose and Vision to your employees helps to align them and creates a pathway to greater engagement and satisfaction.

Every employee can act as an accelerator for your organization if they feel confident in the clarity of their role, how they can be successful, how they can develop and how the work that they do makes an impact on the business and its community. Each additional employee that is aligned with the purpose and vision further accelerates the organization by magnitude through focus on the goal.

Setting proper expectations for the activities and behaviors associated with each role, along with objective measures to verify achievement, creates focus on the objectives and allows for improvement through regular feedback reviews.

Balancing the intrinsic motivation (Vision and Purpose) with extrinsic (Compensation and Reward) becomes an important part of the leadership puzzle. Without a proper balance, frustration from the company or the employee may subvert the culture and create unwanted activity incongruent with the Purpose and Vision.

The organization must have a compensation structure that supports the goals of the company and the employees, while allowing the company to grow and thrive in a volatile market environment. While compensation, defined by the metrics of expectation, is an important part of employee satisfaction, the investment in employee development must also be addressed. The creation of a process focused and consistent training program can further align employees to the purpose and vision by building skills to successfully execute the expectations and behaviors that the organization deems relevant.

Together, purpose and training move in a consistent and connected way towards the strategic vision of the company. The training plan should be based on a combination of industry knowledge, company specific experiential learning and broad skills development that blend the general and the differentiators of your organization’s brand/value proposition.

This investment in employee growth allows them to move through the training with a deeper belief in the purpose of the organization and greater energy to collaborate in achieving the expected success.

Your people are the manifestation and expression of the Vision and Purpose of the organization. They are the Brand Ambassadors of the company. Give them the proper lens and filter through which they make informed and insightful decisions. Give them a Vision and Give them a Purpose.

Your Business is a Blessing and a Burden

Your Business is a Blessing and a Burden

As a business leader who is responsible for your company’s success and the livelihood of all the people you employ, do you have the right resources to help you make the right decisions and choices for your people and for yourself?

Your business is a family that needs wisdom as well as action. It needs to offer compassion and discipline together to reach the goals set out before it. It is a both a blessing and a burden that can keep you awake at night as you navigate the changes across the industry and your local community. Regulatory obstacles, customer and employee attrition, acquisition challenges and budgetary constraints all threaten your ability to lead your company through the coming years.

Whether cultural (vision, people and communication), organizational (structure and leadership) or financial (growth, compensation and expense management), every decision impacts the overall performance of your business. Fortunately, you are not alone in this journey. You just need the right people and partnerships to drive forward.

An executive coach and mentor can provide an objective viewpoint about your business to help mitigate unnecessary risk and to provide the necessary accountability. Coaches can take on the role of confidant, cheerleader, sounding board, priest and task master to bring about the best outcome for you and your business.

TranStrategy Partners provides the pathway to successful achievement of your goals. Over the last 14 years, we have helped companies achieve their plans for growth with measurable and significant ROI:

Over 15% average revenue growth with over 50% average profitability growth in the first year of engagement. Leaders and employees become more engaged and collaborative in the work that they do with a clearer focus on the goals and expectations – the vision.
Find the right partnership to make your business thrive – for you, for your people and for the future.

Working Together for Success: Sales and Operations

Working Together for Success: Sales and Operations

Have you overheard conversations like these in your brokerage?
Salesperson: “I met with ABC Shipper this morning and was blindsided when they asked me about how I plan to resolve ‘this issue’. I had to tell them that we were reviewing the potential options and would be back with them later today. I called into the office and I am still waiting for useful information about what happened and how we plan to remedy the situation. I feel like I am a second-class citizen within my organization.”
Operations: “I’m not really sure what ‘salesperson’ does each day. We keep having to find cheaper trucks for his customers and we haven’t had a decent new customer in quite some time. How are we supposed to grow without new business? I feel like, without the new business, the lower rates are going to keep us from providing the service to our customers, which will cause us to lose more business, and on and on.”
Too often there is a disconnect between the sales department and the operations department. The sales goals of margin maximization, combined with customer acquisition and expansion are not aligned with the operational needs to cover the load and find incremental load volume increase. Daily service issues are not always communicated throughout the organization which leave salespeople scrambling to provide the assurance to customers to allay their concerns. New rates and customers arrive to the operations team without a defined strategy for service and growth.
This disconnect between goals and activity causes an ‘us versus them’ dynamic to form within an organization that can permeate the culture and stifle growth. At the heart of these issues is leadership and corporate vision in defining expectations, behaviors and belief.
Clarity and communication of the company goals across the organization is essential to building the belief in the strategic direction. Leaders need to provide the context (the Why) and the process (the How) to support the overall strategy. Clarity is achieved through simple crafting of the vision and goals. The clearer the message, the easier it is to retain, repeat and remember. Regular communication of the message helps all people begin to internalize and promote the message.
When people know their responsibilities (and the reasons for them), along with the responsibilities of others, in achieving the goals of the organization, the team begins to gain cohesion and will rally around the goals together. Within the team itself, collaboration builds credibility and trust. Regular communication and review to recognize success and identify obstacles improves the responsiveness to pivot as needed to move forward.