Planning is always an important part of starting any business. This transport and logistics cheat sheet will give you some important steps to consider before you get going. From making sure your finances are organised to insurance to correctly marketing your business.
Related: The Essential Start-up Cheat Sheet
Here are seven steps to consider when starting a transport and logistics business:
Step 1: Organising your finance
When you’re at an advanced stage in your business you should have precise facts and accurately calculate your expenses. Don’t wait for surprises. Surprises can be quite expensive and could set you back.
A good idea is to put money aside for breakdowns. Breakdowns can impact you financially and will affect your profits.
You should also have some clearly calculated financials on spreadsheets: A recipe for disaster is if you’re still working your expenses out in your head and that is all you’ve done with your financial projections.
Step 2: Choosing your Type of Transport Business
There are many options available in the transport and logistics business such as:
- Limousine or taxi service
- Medical transportation
- Courier service
- Auto transport business
- Charter, bus company.
Each one has its only challenges and benefits. When deciding, go for an option which doesn’t have a lot of competition in the area you’re operating in.
You should also do some research and make sure there is a need for that type of transportation in the area.
Step 3: Getting Registered
Your next step should be contacting your local public utilities commission. You’ll need to find out what documentation you’ll need to start your transportation business such as:
- Registering with area, province or national transportation departments.
Step 4: Putting Insurance in Place
Insurance is very important for any business.
Contact an insurance company that specialises in a business that has your specific mode of transportation. Research different companies to understand what you will be paying for and what each insurance solution will cover.
It may help to ask someone already in the industry who they are insured with and why.
Step 5: Buying Vehicles
The amount of money you spend in this step will affect your business quite dramatically.
The type of vehicle and whether you’re buying new or used vehicles will impact your finances significantly. Buying used vehicles can help reduce costs. If you find vehicles that have low mileages and are the type of vehicle you’re looking for have them checked out by a mechanic.
Purchasing a large fleet of vehicles at once can often qualify you for discounts from dealers.
Your vehicles are the key to your transportation business so you should make sure that you buy the right vehicles for the right price.
Step 6: Marketing your Business
Advertise your business to your specific target market when your business is running. Here are a few advertising ideas you can use:
- Have an advert placed in your local telephone book
- Create a website for your business
- Create a business card with your URL on it as well as any vital information
- Word of mouth can be very powerful so tell everyone you meet about your business.
Step 7: Financial Support
Be patient. Any venture will take time and effort to build up a customer base, vehicles and profits.
It’s a good idea to financial backing to get you through at least a year of hard times. You don’t want to have to close your business after only a short period of time because you ran out of funds.
The Road Freight Association of South Africa (RFA) has an SMME Starter Kit which is designed specifically for businesses which are starting out. It includes tips and tricks on how to go about getting into the transport industry, sourcing contracts and calculating financial predictions as well as various other essential information.
Alan Knott-Craig Answers You Questions From Business Idea To Start-up
Choosing the right idea, packaging it for market and setting the right price all work together to launch your successful start-up.
“Don’t stress about people stealing your idea. If it can be stolen, its worthless. The only valuable ideas are the ones that only you can execute.”
Question: I would very much like to create a business that deals in Jungian psychology and the interplay between seeing nature as a great healer for the psyche, and environmental education. The problem is that I don’t have a product per se. I have information that I know extremely well and can speak very eloquently on (with great passion). How can I monetise this information? I have very good counselling skills, I know my subject matter backwards, but I’m struggling with how what I know can benefit the market. — Lavinia
Product is easy. Selling is the hard part. You feel confident you have a solid product, now you need to package it, market it, and sell it.
Start with packaging. Create a website. Explain on the landing page what you offer the customer. Make it simple, no jargon. (ie: I will make you happy). Testimonials are highly effective.
Remember: Selling aspirin is easier than selling vitamins. Relief from pain is an easier sell than prevention of ill-health.
Okay, you have a website. Now you need to raise awareness. Share with all your friends and family. Share on Twitter, on Facebook. Get the word out there. Someone will eventually contact you. Now, you have to actually sell your product.
Make sure you give the right price, and make sure you collect your cash. Business is not for folks who feel squeamish when asking for money. Help your first customer. Wait for word-of-mouth reference. Help the next customer. Rinse, repeat.
Related: 20 Quick Money-Making Business Ideas
Selling hours is hard to scale. If you want to grow your revenues without working harder, consider online counselling, or group counselling. Books are great for PR, not great for revenue.
Should I bounce my idea off someone I trust and whom I believe would give me constructive feedback? What type of person would this be? — Ian
The first question to ask is, ‘What is his incentive?’ If the person you ask has the same incentive as you (ie. your success), then pay attention to advice. If not, ignore. That’s why you should ignore most advice. Only seek out those that have your best interests at heart.
The second important question to ask is, “Does he have experience?” Asking a life-long Post Office employee his opinion on your start-up idea is a pretty useless exercise. Chances are he won’t know that he doesn’t know anything about start-ups, and so will spout a fount of advice that is not grounded in reality. Same goes when asking a Professor of Entrepreneurship. For the most part, academics have great theories, but have never had skin in the game.
Regarding the question of trust, don’t stress about people stealing your idea. If it can be stolen, its worthless. The only valuable ideas are the ones that only you can execute.
How do you crowdfund a food business? — JC
All things being equal, crowdfunding doesn’t work. Especially for start-ups in South Africa. It’s like trying to be Jay-Z or Taylor Swift. You see the success stories, every day. They’re paraded in front of you. What you don’t see are all the failure stories. For every successful crowdfunded company (or Jay-Z), there are hundreds of thousands of failures.
Related: A – Z Easy Small Business Ideas
If I were you, I wouldn’t put energy into crowdfunding, no matter whether it’s a food business or a rocket business. The way to raise money for start-ups is family and friends.
I’m not making as much money in my chicken business as I thought I would, and I think it’s because I’m buying complete products for re-sale. I’m thinking of buying live chickens, then slaughtering, packaging myself to re-sell, giving me the freedom to manipulate pricing to my advantage. What do you think? — Mam
Your instincts are right: You must control the price. You want to be a price-maker. The opposite of a price-maker is a price-taker. Don’t be a price-taker. That way lies stress and poor-dom.
First step in price control is to understand demand and supply. You must control supply. If you can’t manage supply, you can’t control price.
Sometimes that means being the ‘platform’. Sometimes it means vertical integration (slaughtering chickens). Sometimes it means both. Just ask yourself: What do you need to do to control price? Then do it.
Do you have a burning start-up question?
10 Cannabis Business Opportunities You Can Start From Home
The marijuana industry is on the verge of exploding within South Africa, there are numerous business opportunities you can start from your couch.
Now that consumers can enjoy weed in the comforts of their homes there is the potential for an entire industry to support and cater to these individuals. Looking to the American cannabis industry will reveal new innovations and even more business opportunities that you can inject into the budding South Africa market.
Selling marijuana is still illegal, for now, as parliament decides what their next steps will be on legalisation in the next 24 months. Considering the global trend, they will likely bring this industry into the mainstream to regulate and tax it, following the in the footsteps of USA and Canada.
In the meantime, you could create a whole business around offering services and products to those using it legally.
Here are 10 weed business opportunities you can start from your couch:
20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)
These 20 innovative businesses are doing well in their respective markets, but they could also thrive in South Africa.
Are you looking for an innovative business idea that already has a track-record, but doesn’t currently operate in the South African market. These 20 innovative businesses have proven to be profitable in their markets; why not be the one to introduce something similar to South Africa?
- Activity bars
- Startups Anonymous
- Vegan Meat And Dairy Alternatives
- Narrative Clip
- Carbon Green Cards
- Translation and language platform
- Healthy vending machines
- Green/off-grid living
- Bringing the seasons to South Africa
- Niche pet services
- Hangover Helpers
- Special Needs Dating Site
- Second-hand Children’s Clothing
- Online Valuation Services
- ‘Anger Rooms’ to smash stuff with a sledge hammer
- Discounted Eating Out
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