Dollars & Sense

Kevin Rutherford

Transform your business

Kevin Rutherford | March 01, 2011

It’s time to take your business to the next level. Time to create the business you really want. Time not to settle for anything less.

Are you ready? Here are the steps to make that happen.

Kevin Rutherford

CREATE A BUSINESS MAP. Business plans are OK, but a business map is better. When you use a map, you need to know two things: Where are you now, and where do you want to go.

A business map helps determine where you want your operation to go.

First define where your business is now, then get very clear on where you want it to be. Instead of just writing it down, use diagrams, numbers – whatever makes it real.

MEASURE PERFORMANCES. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. You should monitor and measure these key items.

• Fuel mileage: Fuel is your number one cost and the easiest cost to reduce. Most businesses would do anything to improve their profits by 10 percent to 30 percent and yet many owner-operators ignore this chance every day. For a great tool to help you measure, manage and improve your fuel economy, go to mygauges.com. Track your mileage for 30 days.

Now brainstorm on three strategies to improve your fuel economy by half a mile per gallon. Implement those strategies and measure for the next 30 days. You could add thousands of dollars per year in net profit.

• Profit and loss: This is a simple one-page document that shows your revenue, costs and the difference between the two, which is your profitability. Look at it monthly. If you don’t know how to create a P&L, hire a good trucking accounting firm to do it for you.

• Compliance: Do you know your Compliance, Safety, Accountability rating? Do you know the rating of the carrier you are leased to? Have you checked your DAC? How about your driving record? Get the numbers.

Because of increased regulatory activity, safety plays a bigger role than ever in your success by qualifying how much of an asset – or a liability – you are to you carrier and your insuror.

ADD THE NUMBERS TO YOUR MAP. With these and other measurements, create a 10/10/10 plan. This means you choose three areas to improve by 10 percent each. For example, pick gross revenue, fuel cost and maintenance cost.

Don’t worry at first about how you’re going to make improvements. The how will come as you focus on each area. Commit just one hour a day to study and work your plan. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish each day.

 

Three major factors will determine your success:

State of mind. Are you excited about growing your business? Write a list of why it’s important to succeed. Read the list every day before you begin to work on your plan.

Stories. Do the scripts that run in your mind’s background help you or hurt you? Stop listening to stories that limit you. Start telling yourself stories that empower you. For example, have you told yourself that you can’t be really successful at business because you don’t have the proper education? Change that story to: You are going to learn something new about business every day. It’s a small change that can make a radical shift in your thinking and results.

Strategy. There are a thousand strategies for success, but you will find the ones that work for you if you manage the first two factors every day. Stay in a good state of mind, tell yourself positive stories and the strategies will show up when you need them.

 

Kevin Rutherford is an accountant, small-fleet owner and the host of “Trucking Business & Beyond,” which airs on Sirius XM Radio’s Road Dog Trucking Radio. Contact Rutherford through his website, www.LetsTruck.com.