Ask the Coach: Planning for a Successful 2017

The “Ask the Coach” program is produced by TranStrategy Partners, the recognized leader in freight brokerage / 3PL coaching. Since 2004, TSP has helped hundreds of freight brokerage owners and top executives build the companies they want.  

Question: I own a small freight brokerage that employs seven people. I started the company in 2007 and we grew steadily over the years, but over the last few years, the hassles have grown, but revenues are flat. Toward the end of every year, I set goals for the next year. Despite my best efforts, I am unable to reach the goals. How can I reach my goals in 2017?  Joe in Chicagoland

Mike Temple: Joe, first, congratulations on building a successful freight brokerage. You have succeeded where many others have failed. Give yourself some credit, while you reach for the next level. As you have noticed, reaching your goals has become harder as your company grew. Small businesses are usually overly dependent on the efforts of the founder. Your company’s future success will depend on the efforts (and results) of your people. To reach your 2017 goals, you will need a strategy along with the people to execute the strategy. To rock it in 2017, consider doing the following:

1. Current State Assessment. The first step for any strategic planning is understanding where you are today. A through assessment will include the following components: financial (revenue, sales, margin, income), company culture, values, marketplace, position, technology, leadership (strengths, management style, personality types), people, structure, sales and marketing. During the current state assessment, you will observe some of the reasons you have been successful and some of the things that are holding you back. You can’t create a map to the future unless you know exactly where you are today.

2. Winning Strategy
. Armed with the current state assessment results, create a strategy for reaching the desired future state. The strategic plan should address the weaknesses identified in the current state assessment. Setting goals is great, but if you lack the people and resources to execute it, the goals are just a fantasy.
The strategic plan will vary from company to company, but typically include: mission, values, competitive advantage, target market, sales and marketing plans, training and development, belief systems, organizational structure, and financing.

3. Ownership and Accountability
. As the owner, you are responsible for the strategic direction of the company, but you will need your people to execute that strategy. Drive ownership and accountability through clearly defined and measurable expectations. This is an ongoing process – not a one-time event. To maintain momentum during execution, measure progress with regular reviews. Build reward and recognition systems for your people.   

Now, go Knock’em Dead in 2017!

About the Coach
Mike Temple is a Senior Partner at TranStrategy Partners and the Director of the Xcelerator Leadership Program, which is designed to be a catalyst for accelerated growth for 3PL and freight brokerage businesses. The Xcelerator Leadership Program is a yearlong program that utilizes a unique process that maximizes business results with minimum disruption to day to day operations. 

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