This blog post is written by eTruckBiz Business Coach, Bob Tiell.
You've heard people say, "There's strength in numbers." And I'm sure you've heard, "Two heads are better than one." People say them because they're true.
Both can be said about entrepreneurship. There are lots of moving parts in a business which leads to some things getting overlooked and others missed altogether. So, business owners may benefit by asking an expert to see what can make their company stronger down the road.
I can be that other set of eyes. I am someone who’s learned what success looks like by working alongside hundreds of AO’s and BC’s throughout the United States. I’ve gained perspective on how business owners achieve their goals.
My “second career” as a Business Coach (after departing the management ranks at FedEx Ground) affords me opportunities to alternately learn from and guide the brightest Contractors in the business. Today, I’m sharing a few of the best tips that can strengthen your company for the long haul.
The first thing I’ve learned is that the best Contractors are not necessarily those who’ve been contracting the longest. The sharpest ones are those who pay attention to the details.
Secondly, they regularly seek expert advice. Accepting advice keeps them sharp and makes them stronger. The best Contractors are consistently learning and adapting their operations by asking the right questions and implementing the right solutions.
Seeking advice from someone who's observed hundreds of operations offers perspective based on a vast set of situations. Some say it’s the best way to shorten the learning curve.
The First Meeting
When I meet with CSP's for the first time, they've been focusing mostly on their service percentage. Service is important, but other aspects of the business are just as important. It's those other important numbers that can cause trouble.
Some Contractors reach out when they're in trouble. Others reach out to avoid trouble. Most times, trouble comes from one of two reasons. Either administrative compliance is lacking, or a business isn't profitable.
So, I ask a lot of questions and listen closely to the answers. What's missing? How much time should owners devote to which metrics? How much time will be devoted to ensuring those key metrics are being met? And how will their administration be handled going forward?
What's Meant By Administration
Administration means the tasks that many entrepreneurs and managers find excruciatingly boring and tedious. It’s the stuff that’s relegated to the backburner the quickest.
Successful Contractors have learned which administrative tasks are most important and which ones are not so crucial. Doing everything all the time is impossibly overwhelming. So, the key is learning which tasks can keep the business going forward with the least amount of moving parts. A lean organization is usually an effective one.
Lots of time-consuming tasks need to get done either inhouse or outsourced. Entering new drivers into a database is critical. Ongoing safety training is crucial. VEDR coaching is required in order to stay compliant. Procrastinating is not the best course of action. No one needs an OTC from FedEx showing up.
The options are hiring your own Administrative Assistant at around $3,000/month + health insurance + payroll taxes, etc., or you can outsource the admin tasks. If you choose outsourcing, choose people who already know the in’s and out’s of this business. It’s usually the least expensive overall option.
A quick glance inside MyGroundBiz is telling as to whether, or not, a company is administratively strong. How often do you look at your MGB account? And what are you looking at when you log in? I can teach Contractors what’s important to look at on a regular basis.
Qualifying To Become A New CSP/TSP
If you're trying to get into the Contracting business, you can get a leg up by starting to think about how you’re going to operate your business. The number of people applying for Contracting Agreements with FedEx Ground has increased exponentially.
FedEx can afford to choose which applicants are awarded contracts. They’re identifying potential owners who understand compliance right out of the gate and who will stay ahead of the game. They don’t need owners who are continuously playing catch up. A buyer is more apt to be awarded a contract by having systems and processes already in place.
Additionally, FedEx will not award a contract to a buyer without a well structured financial plan in place. They choose buyers who can exemplify longevity. In other words, they can cherry pick who is awarded a contract.
I often assist potential buyers who wish to become administratively sound before they start.
How do I help them become administratively sound? Here are a few examples of what I do to help business owners get set up.
- Assist with timekeeping compliance. Paying by the hour will be significantly more important going forward.
- Monthly vehicle maintenance administration and reporting are critical.
- Syncing employee rosters with FXG’s information is crucial (it has to be precise).
- First Advantage processing of new hires is necessary.
- Assisting with Safety Watch will help get a new company going in the right direction.
- VEDR Coaching is needed in order to meet Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
At eTruckBiz, we keep AO’s and BC’s from being overwhelmed. We do this by listening to their needs first, then suggesting the appropriate service offerings and solutions.
The above services I mentioned are operationally driven. You may be interested to know that we also offer services that go beyond operations. We help businesses achieve more profitability. One of our primary goals is to ensure our customers are growing the value of their investment.
The following reports and services have helped hundreds of business owners accomplish their investment goals.
- Income & Expense Administration
- Weekly Business Review Report
- Monthly Profit & Loss Report
- Quarterly Financial Health Checkup
Whether you’re considering entering the business, or if you’re wanting to make your current business better, I’m here to help you. I like to think that I can help business owners and their managers get where they're wanting to be more quickly than trying to get there by themselves.