Hopefully, you were able to get in with a top-tier outfit to earn your freight agent license. If so, you probably covered much of what is anticipated from a career in the freight industry regarding salary, business prospects, and the long-term outlook on the industry. But no classroom can fully prepare you for managing your own freight brokerage for the first time. You need a plan.
Designing a successful Freight Business Plan
There is so much that goes into getting your freight business off the ground. Without the right business plan entry into the freight industry will be far too competitive and you will find yourself constantly losing out to your competitors.
One way to build your business up from the ground up smartly for endurance is to have a successful freight business plan. What goes into that business plan will determine the steps necessary to create the type of company that you want.
The more detailed your plan the better though the numbers will change almost daily. Here are our 6 freight agent tips for designing a successful business plan for your freight business that will get you off to a solid start.
#1: Let Your Executive Summary and Mission Statement be Your Guide
Every business plan begins with a Mission Statement or Executive Summary. Both should be included in your business plan as well as a Company Overview/Summary. They are three separate animals and should be treated as such.
They have one thing in common; they lay the path and vision for your company. Here is a brief overview of how to craft all three:
Your Mission Statement tells prospective investors and reminds you what is at the core of your business ethos. What is it the problem that you want to solve? Your mission statement should be no longer than a short three or four sentence paragraph.
Your Executive Summary is your roadmap for reaching your destination as a freight business. This is where you state how you will execute your vision in practical terms in a brief one or two sentence overview.
Your Company Summary defines what your freight business is all about. This is a short paragraph stating your specialty or focus and your long-term business goals. Do you want to be the leading freight broker in the country or just one of the players?
#2: Use Real Market Research to Define Your Target Market
Who will benefit the most from your services? Who else? Those are the questions that should guide your market research for your Target Market Analysis. Your location, your specialty, and your local and regional competition will all factor into your analysis.
The most important freight agent tip in this regard is to use real numbers to make your pitch. Go beyond just stating the problem here. Include real data showing that there is a real need in your area for your types of services and that there currently isn’t anyone fulfilling that need.
Once you know your market, your business plan should include a marketing plan segment detailing how you will attract those who need your services to use you. Start with defining your services:
- What types of cargo will you specialize in?
- Will you provide your own trucks?
- Is there a weight limit for load size in your services?
- Are your service rates comparable to other providers in your area?
Don’t forget to include your Market Summary. This should be a concise one-paragraph explanation of the findings of your market research and what those findings mean for your business prospects and your strategy for using that data to build your business.
#3: Write One Sentence that Says How You are Better/Different from Your Competitors
In business, you must always work to separate yourself apart from your competitors. Whether it is through your niche, your services, or your capacity, think of a one sentence stating how you are different from or better than your competition. This will help you focus your vision and will guide your marketing strategy.
#4: Map Out Your Long Term Goals Too
Your business plan is not just for mapping out your goals over your first few months or first couple of years. You should include your long-term business plan as an addendum to your overall business plan. Mapping out your future will help to guide you as you work to get there.
#5: Describe the Type of Business You Ultimately Envision Having
Today you are a startup freight agent. What will you be in a year? In five years? In 10 years? When you retire or sell your freight agency what will your company look like then? Describe your ultimate goal and where you envision your company at its peak. Write that into your company’s vision.
#6: Explain How You Will Finance Your Freight Business
Finally and most importantly if you are seeking investors, explain how you are going to finance your freight business. Map out your estimated monthly expenses versus anticipated monthly revenues. Be as detailed as possible and include any business loans, grants, or personal funds available to you.
You may also need help with the Business Financing section of your business plan. A licensed accountant or CPA could help you to determine your financial risks based on your industry specific niche, your operating costs, your revenues, and your market analysis to give you a levelheaded projection of your financial prospects.
Free Business Plan Tools for Freight Agents
Of course presentation is extremely important when designing a successful business plan. Here are some free online resources for building a freight agent business plan:
- General Freight Trucking Business Plan
- Small Business Administration(SBA) Business Plan Builder
- Sample Freight Brokerage Business Plans from BPlans
Did you find these 6 freight agent tips useful? Want more information about starting your career as a freight agent? Read about our GlobalTranz Freight Agent Opportunity Program.