How I can help you
Looking back over my four decades in motor freight sales, business and transportation management,I wish that I had taken the time, as you are now doing, to investigate and develop a SCORE mentor/client relationship.
When I decided to cut the economic umbilical cord as a salaried and expense supported employee and branch out on my own it was a time full of uncertainty yet great anticipation.
While I had accrued valuable career skills through education ,hands on training and work experience and the development of valuable client relationships,I spent many of those years trying to develop enough courage to make the transition from company employee to entrepreneur.
Metaphorically,I was unsatisfied just "cutting bait ,I wanted to fish on my own". In many ways, the decision to leap was all about circumstances and timing and quite possibly that is something to which you can relate.
As a result of a company merger and my subsequent layoff ,I decided that i would take the lemon that life had just handed me and start making lemonade. If I was ever going to realize my dream of doing my own thing, now was the time.I was fifty, had a son in his third year of college and a new wife. I could not wait any longer to get moving. As the saying goes,"Necessity became the mother of invention" and accordingly it was time for me to implement my idea of starting my own freight logistics business.
Although I had a great set of ideas to improve existing freight transportation methods, I soon learned that it takes more than just an idea and a leap of faith to make something happen. I asked myself: Starting a business takes money . How was I going to finance operating capital that would allow me to hire qualified vendors to service my prospects? Negotiate an equitable lease to provide to rent office and warehouse space so establish an operational base ? And by the way, develop and market a niche service product to provide an income stream to support the above ?
I was scared but also hungry. I developed a workable business plan and learned to wear many hats. I was determined to succeed. Fortunately,my experience as a national account sales person and then as a regional operations director for several nationwide trucking firms allowed me to develop a strong customer base. It was indeed a challenge to convert prospects into our new customers listed on our dispatch record,. It did not happen overnight. I had to be patient yet persistent.
I soon realized ,on my dime, that just because you throw a line out , there is no guarantee you'll catch anything worth keeping. I also remembered that If you have a dream, you also soon realize that it's not just a monetary investment that is required but regardless of your enterprise ,success requires putting forth personal capital such as perseverance, sweat equity, and dedicating yourself to doing whatever had to be done. As a startup, I knew that setting a good example was crucial and accordingly we adopted an internal code of ethical standards to insure integrity and fair play for all . We did our best to apply those standards regardless of the relationship whether it be it with a prospect,customer,vendor or employee.
I also learned that while daring to be different is imperative to get noticed, planning and execution will ultimately decide who swims and who sinks.
One by one, former customers who said they would support me actually did. In the end,the essence of my career in freight transportation and logistics management was all about effective communication and attention to detail. These are required attributes regardless of the business type that you elect to start.
As my own enterprise, I developed a recipe for consistency of service and stuck to the plan. I took ownership of our customers shipments and treated them as if they were our own. If as a company we fell down, both myself and my employees were the first to speak up and took a proactive rather than reactive approach so that a timely remedy could be offered.
Success did come but it wasn't instantaneous . We never operated as if we had all the answers and when mistakes occurred we turned them into learning opportunities. Unlike a manufacturing business which makes and markets tangible goods,if there was a defect in the product a remedy could be offered in the form of a repair or a replacement or a refund to address a customer complaint. Ours, being an intangible commodity, did not have that luxury. Accordingly, we developed the "dirt foot" acronym as our operating mantra; D.I.R.T.F.T which simply stated was "Do it right the first time". Error cleanup is both expemsive and time consuming. That's not to say that there were never service issues because we were always up against unknowns such as driver illness,mechanical breakdowns and unpredictable weather issues which could occur no matter how well we pre-planned. On rare occasions, we forgave any charges if it was warranted and the delay was a result of our misstep.
While external growth was and is always important, we could not grow the business without recognizing the importance of existing customer satisfaction and retention.
Lastly,it was never about observing a 9 to 5 work schedule. As my wife could well attest, there were numerous times where calls home were made to advise that regrettably, I would miss dinner simply because an issue occurred that required immediate attention and could not wait until the next morning. Weekends, holidays were often interrupted but in many instances those interuptions often led to a new opportunity.
If you have an idea and high ideals, I'll be glad to lend a hand. Regardless of what you do with your idea please remember that time is our most precious resource. Use it wisely.Take time to think .Take time to plan and then act deliberately.
I wish you the best of luck toward your future success and thank you for contacting SCORE. Feel free to contact me at anytime. If I cannot be of assistance SCORE personnel will their very best to refer you to someone in the organization who can.
Areas of Expertise
- Business Finance & Accounting
- Business Strategy & Planning
- Supply Chain Management
- Business Operations
- Sales, Marketing & Public Relations
- Transportation & Warehousing
Three years post high school secondary education.
1.5 years, Pierce Jr College,Philadelphia,PA 1966-1968
1 year, York College of PA ,York,PA 1968-1969
.5 year continuous business education and transporation related courses,GA Tech,Atlanta GA 1988-89
Karass Series Effective Negotiation 1995