Archive for Dispatcher

Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will Not

 

Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will not

False thinking raises its ugly head

Have you ever thought there would come a day when life stopped dishing out lessons for us to learn? Well, if you are like me we can always hope so. What I found last week instead was false thinking on my part.

You see, I thought when I left the job at the bank and started building my own auto transport business security was a done deal, locked in. I knew that jobs in corporate America were no longer secure in the new economy. By reading the headlines in the morning paper or watching the evening news I see evidence of the insecurity in working for someone else.

My husband and I lived through the very insecure timber industry here in northern California when he lost his job not once, but three times to it. Learning to live on twenty-five percent of a mill workers income when the bills did not decrease accordingly stunk! This was one more reason we wanted to be independent, work for ourselves, control our own destiny.

Auto transport market changes in business 

Part of the lessons I learned early on in our broker business was we must be aware and have our finger on the pulse of the industry. Keeping our head buried in the sand like an ostrich is not how a business owner builds a successful business. In fact, if you do not watch what is going on in the rest of the country you could easily go broke.

Just like when Hurricane Katrina hit and we almost lost the business. If it were not for our owner-operators, who love and cared for us giving us advice we would have closed our doors. It certainly was a tough lesson and one we will not soon forget.

During the darkest of times back then is when we decided we had better look at alternate ways to make money if I wanted to keep the business going and stay home to work. If you recall we were building a part time vitamin business at the same time. It was at a networking breakfast meeting that one of our members questioned me about what an auto transport broker did. When I answered the question, they asked for a business card and said their uncle was looking for my type of service.

The following week we received a call from the uncle of the member of the networking group. It did not take long to figure out that they had misunderstood my explanation of what I do. This man was looking for a dispatcher.

However, I agreed to meet him and his wife for coffee to discuss what services I could offer them. The rest is history, thus was born “The Dispatch Center”, a division of Carla’s Transport Services.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket

The next phase of the business grew right along. Soon after accepting one owner-operator job, others followed. Even though the customer side of auto transport had slowed down, the dispatching of auto carriers kept me hopping.

I found I loved working with the variety of clients, from car owners, other brokers to the drivers themselves. Relationships grew, as did my circle of professional business partners. Soon I found myself inside their lives helping them with their health, too. How could that be you might wonder?

One of the drivers I had dispatched a car to for one of my auto transport customers transports went missing in action. Panic began to set in when his company called me looking for any updated information. His wife called me asking when the last communication we had was, what time of day and the like.

All I can say is thank goodness for relationships, companies who care for their employees and the GPS systems some trucking firms use on their trucks. After a whole day of investigating, he was finally located at a truck stop, in the back, face down having suffered a stroke. He is all right today, thanks to everyone’s effort and relentless phone calls.

As the seasons change so does the volume of business, both on the brokering and dispatching side of the business. It made perfect sense to diversify and build our vitamin business due to the difficulties of the market.

However, I neglected one detail. I settled into the false thinking of security. The mindset of if brokering slows, I have the dispatching to fall back on. Doesn’t it seem logical and safe? Wrong.

Depending on someone elses business for security

In this current economy, government agencies are looking for ways to boost our economy. Now, I am not saying anything is wrong with that it does need help. However, let me share with you what happened to one of the trucks I dispatch. Please, share your thoughts and help me understand the logic of this situation.

This truck has been running the same route for over six years. What this means is he hauls a load of cars from California to Texas and back again using the same interstates. For our safety there are inspection stations manned by Highway Patrol officers trained in semi-tractor safety and highway law. Stay with me here as I take you through my thinking.

On the last load-in the inspector tells the driver that his equipment is one foot too long. Now, after six years his truck is illegal to run the state of California, he is done. What does this mean to his business and mine? One of two things can happen. He can purchase new equipment that is the right length for the state requirements at a great cost or he is out of business.

What did this teach me? The light bulb went off in my head and it exploded. I had allowed my thinking to slip back into a comfort zone that had gotten others and me into trouble before. I thought I was secure in my auto transport broker and dispatch center. I thought even if one side generated less revenue it would be okay because I had the other side.

What I had not counted on were the regulations changing. We try not to think about trucks breaking down, trailers being too long. This all caused an immediate loss of work, revenue and comfort.

We were comforted knowing that while we were building our business we did not put all of our eggs in one basket. We had begun building another business part time, our anti-aging vitamin company.

 
Have you ever thought about how secure your job or business really is? It was a real wake up call for me. Now I know for sure, the only security in business is to have a back up plan.
 
Start today working on your plan. You do not want to be caught off guard by rules, regulations and laws that are not within your control. Like my family, yours will be thankful that you thought ahead.
 
We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Leave your comment below and join in the discussion. We'd love to hear your thoughts about being prepared for imminent change.
 
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Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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Why Is It Critical To Have The Mindset Of A Business Owner Not An Employee?

 

Why is it critical to have the mindset of a business owner

Stop thinking like an employee

This past weekend provided time for reflection. Much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of the ringing phones and doorbell. I have often wondered if other business owners are like me, up to their necks in work with little time to reflect on decisions they have made or need to make. Do you schedule time out for just thinking?

Reading your comments on Face Book about whether or not to invest in your business training reminded me of how I used to think back when I got started in the auto transport business.

Looking into opening our auto transport business was an exciting time, until we learned the dollar amount needed to get started. See, I am right back where I started, talking just as I did back then…"the dollar amount needed".

Are you kidding me? When opening a business you do not think or talk like that. That is speaking a death sentence over your business before it is even given birth! A business owner invests into starting the business. A business owner has the mindset of building the business, using cash flow and deciding to learn while earning a living.

However, coming from corporate America no training was provided to help me think or change my mindset from an employee to a business owner. The journey would take me down several wrong roads before I would learn that the mindset of a business owner is critical for long-term success.

You do not spend you invest

Who really is to blame for brainwashing us into thinking it is too scary to invest into our own business? Should we blame our parents, grandparents or maybe the schools; better yet why not blame the government?

Wait! Why not start thinking like a business owner and take 100% of the responsibility for our own decisions! Now, there is a novel idea, what do you think?

You see, some of you wrote to me begging for coaching, to help you start earning money in your auto transport business. That is a mindset of a business owner. However, then in the same breath some of you spoke death into your business the same way I did over six years ago.

How you ask? Well, I can best explain it by sharing how I felt, talked and acted when we opened our doors in January 1995. Although I was hungry to build a business, I did not have a clue what it would really take. Coming from banking all procedures, products and customers were in place when I entered the work place.

When we jumped out of the pot and into the frying pan, no one explained that it would take an investment into the business to start it. Three months and $18,000.00 (U.S.D.) later our doors opened to our first client. There were no guarantees that our business would succeed no guarantees that we would even make our first sale! Yet we did make our first auto transport order; that first sale netted us $145.00. It was an exciting time in our office; however, now the reality of running a business would set in.

Next, the monthly overhead, as phone bills, bond payments, load board dues, leads purchases, office supplies and more poured in. Combine those expenses with repaying the loan we took for start up and our bottom line did not look so grand.

How could we continue to spend more money? We needed to make money, when would that time come? Rather than focus on serving our clients we were scared to death about making money. It did not take long to figure out that my mindset was that of an employee and not a business owner.

Risk versus worth

Looking back in retrospect I wish someone would have pointed me to a business coach that first year. Why? Had I known how business works before jumping in feet first I could have made better decisions. Would I still have started the business? Absolutely! The freedom our whole family enjoys because of being a business owner is priceless.

Had someone explained that investing into our business and our skills would provide stability in our business it would have made each month make more sense. With the proper training, we present a certain air of confidence to our clients.

They sense that you know what you are doing, in more than just providing free quotes for their auto transport. They can feel that you have the mindset of a business owner who knows how to run a profitable business. They sense that you are there to serve their needs and not just make a fast buck.

Now, do not get me wrong. We started our auto transport business to make money, just as any other business owner does. However, the focus cannot be on the almighty dollar, it must be on serving your clients needs long term.

You can sum it up like this. You can make a dollar today providing minimal service to your customers; or you can roll up your sleeves and serve your clients with extraordinary service to gain a lifelong customer. A lifelong customer will return repeatedly and refer their family and friends for years to come. Which example makes more sense to you? Which example is the mindset of the business owner and not an employee?

What brought these thoughts back to me?

A client called to schedule two vehicles with us this morning. He reminded me of his original transport and asked if I remembered him. Thankfully I did remember him, his transport and the circumstances revolving around it.

That transport was back in May of 2005! When he found out he needed to move again next month, he went through all of his records, emails and bank statements to find our name. He remembered the pleasant auto transport he experienced with our service to him. He also remembered the BAD experience he had with the other company, and their name, too.

Had I been thinking about how much money I was spending to purchase leads or systems to operate our business, I never would have met this customer. We never would have had the honor of serving a wonderful client who returned six years later with pleasant memories.

With kudos to our business coach and thankfulness to wonderful clients who have grown and shared our service with others, we are here to continue serving our auto transport clients with the mindset of a business owner and not an employee.

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner

Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
 
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