Logistics Entrepreneurs Adapting to a Shifting Business Environment
Entrepreneurs around the world have been faced with a challenging business environment during the coronavirus pandemic. Even Landstar’s network of freight agents felt the impact of the uncertain market. Despite the challenges, many of these business owners saw 2020 as an opportunity to adjust their strategies for continued success.
Offering New Services
When Mary Tracey joined the Landstar network as an independent freight agent in early 2020, she primarily provided air freight transportation services to her customers. But as the year progressed, so did the needs of her customers. Tracey says her agency had to shift its service offerings to accommodate her customers’ new demands.
“Our focus had to change. Due to decreased air cargo capacity and the way airlines have changed, we’ve taken a step in a different direction and started to manage truckload, flatbed, heavy haul and specialized movements that we weren’t doing before,” explains Tracey.
While expanding her agency’s service offerings has allowed her to accommodate her customers’ immediate needs, Tracey’s new offerings have also diversified her business for the future. “The biggest driving force for us was to be able to provide different types of services to accomplish our customers’ goals. We paid attention to their needs. The last thing we wanted was to not be relevant, to be unable to help a customer,” says Tracey. “We always want to make sure we remain as fluid as possible.”
As companies around the world transitioned to work-at-home settings in 2020, business owners also had to make quick decisions about how to operate accordingly. Shelley and Trevor Hagerman, owners of TH Logistics in Ontario, Canada, say their independent agency did not skip a beat.
With Landstar’s technology already incorporated into the agency’s daily operations, the Hagermans’ employees successfully transitioned to a work-at-home environment without customers experiencing any downtime.
Tracey knew how important it would be to maintain existing relationships with customers in order to grow her business, especially during such an unprecedented year. That meant doing everything she could to stay top-of-mind.
“If I haven’t heard from someone in a while, I’ll reach out. A phone call, text message or email can go a long ways – a message like ‘Hey, I know so much is going on. I haven’t heard from you in a few days and just wanted to make sure you are good. Let me know if I can help you with anything,’” explains Tracey. “Sometimes, it’s all about contacting the right person on the right day, and figuring out what value I can bring to them.”
Although they look forward to a time when they can shake a customer’s hand again, the staff at the Hagermans’ agency have found virtual meetings made communicating with long-distance customers easier.
“We meet virtually with most of our customers now, and it has all been very positive,” explains Trevor Hagerman. “Since there’s no travel, everyone just has to chisel out 10 minutes of their day to hold a meeting which would have taken up more time if we were to meet in-person.”
The Hagermans are confident their business will continue to adapt to the changing business environment, even if some operations have to be handled virtually for the foreseeable future. “This year has proven there will be challenges, but I think it’s really about how to deal with those challenges and learn from them,” says Trevor Hagerman.
To learn from these entrepreneurs about how to navigate change in business, visit RoadToSuccess.Libsyn.com. Landstar’s Road to Success® podcast miniseries, Business Route 2020, focuses on entrepreneurs who have overcome some of the challenges of change – now available wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.