Watching your trucking business hit a rough patch after years of building it up can be difficult to handle. You and your managers might even be treating the cause of the slump like a hot potato, which isn’t going to help your company one bit.
The much more productive solution would be to put your heads together and work out not only what is going wrong in your business – but, more importantly, how you are going to fix it. Of course, this isn’t going to be easy, and you will need a large mixture of software, services, and some tough decisions to get everything back on the right track.
Start by looking for extra work
If you find that the work naturally coming into your business has decreased somewhat, it might be a sign that you need to go out in search of jobs. This is never easy, especially if you have always had the benefits of people coming to you.
A good place to start your search is by looking into shipping load boards, which are often published or accessible through directories. You can look into your specific niche to find the right shipping jobs for your business and make sure that you are getting additional shipping work, even on just an ad-hoc basis. It can help you fill loads, get some extra money in the door, or even help you make ends meet if you are struggling to bring in customers.
Next, look at the trends within your business
Once the immediate cash flow problem is solved, looking into the trends within your business might give you some insight into what is going on. Whether you are a small business in your first year or you are a veteran wondering why things have taken a dive, you will have generated a lot of data which you can then analyze to see what you are doing right, or in this case, identify where things are going wrong.
Don’t overlook this, as it can give you some important insights. Maybe your website visitor numbers are low, or perhaps people prefer a different kind of shipping service that only makes up a small section of your company. Either way, using the right software can help you put your business data into numbers and easy-to-read graphs, which is likely to help you decipher what is going on that you might not be able to see just through experience or ‘gut instinct’.
Don’t forget to use social media
It has been said over and over, again and again: social media is an incredible tool for businesses – even ones like yours. Although you might not think it, social media can build any business’s online presence. It is, at a basic level, a free service, but you can put as much money into your activities as you want to boost results.
You should make sure that you are targeting your audience if you aren’t already, and you should be making sure that you are investing your time into making every post count.
You are also likely to benefit from using social media influencer marketing to help boost your page’s views, as it can be useful to get that extra coverage if your own social media pages aren’t doing so well. Looking into a social media influencer agency might be a good way to access this service instead of getting in contact with influencers directly – especially in a niche industry like shipping.
Look at what successful competition is doing
Now you have those boxes ticked, it would be an idea to take a peek at what your competition is up to – especially if they happen to be doing a lot better than you at the moment. This way, you can ensure that you aren’t missing a trick or something blatantly obvious. They might have a different structure for you, or they have pumped a lot of money into an area you might not have considered and are getting good results that way.
Of course, you have to be careful with this, as you need to make sure that you aren’t just plain copying them but instead taking inspiration and translating it into what works for you. Your best thinkers can put what you find into meetings to devise your own schemes – which is a good strategy, especially if you are of similar size and reach.
Spend some time working on your website
It might seem like it’s all about social media these days, but your website almost certainly needs some work done to it too. If your technical knowledge doesn’t extend too much past turning off and back on again, you might find that looking into a website maintenance agency might be the best way forward.
They can help keep your website up to date and look the part as well. You should also be looking into traffic strategies like SEO, which can have a very positive effect on your business’s standing in organic search results. Building your website also requires putting a lot of attention on your social media, as the two go hand in hand. Here again, you should be putting in time and effort, or better still – getting reliable agencies to help you with it.
Last but not least – look at your employees and training
One final step should be ensuring that your employees are happy to work for you and that you are putting them through the right training to get the job done.
As you are going through a slump, this might be the ideal time to make sure everyone on your payroll is clued up about what they are doing; this will boost morale, their confidence in what they are doing and empower them to solve problems themselves rather than drag you or a manager in over the slightest concern.
Watching a business, you have built up or years go through a slump is not fun. You might not know where to turn, especially if things have just come to you before. However, by plugging the holes by taking on ad-hoc work, then turning your attention inward to look at various aspects of your business online and offline, you can start fixing things so this shouldn’t happen again.