North America has had a lot of winter already this year.  Record-breaking temperatures, blizzards, and now Ohio is expecting to get several days in the 50s with rain.  It feels like it’s been a year already and it’s barely February.  Did you have a plan for how you as an owner-operator were going to handle your business through all this?  Making plans for a crisis isn’t the same as building an owner-operator trucking business plan.

Why Build a Business Plan?

Aren’t business plans just for big corporations that want to get investor’s money?

No, they aren’t.  Stever Robbins in this Entrepreneur.com article lays out why business plans are important:  “You’ll use the plan for so much more – for managing yourself, for operating the business and for recruiting.”

Maybe you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur.  Maybe you think you’re just an owner-operator with a truck and CDL.  Entrepreneurs are those people on Shark Tank.

Respectfully, we disagree.  When you own your own business, you are an entrepreneur.  According to Google, you are “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”  Buying a truck certainly qualifies.

Building a business plan is the start of building a business. Even if you’ve been on the road for years, putting a business plan in place can help you build your trucking business.  Like a blueprint for a contractor to construct a house, your business plan will show you the plan for your business.

You’ve probably been waiting for me to say it:  fail to plan and plan to fail.  That’s pretty negative.

How about this instead:  Plan to build and build the plan.

If you’re a business, you need a business plan.  Simply put, a business plan lays out different aspects of your business.  There are several parts to it but don’t worry, building a good business plan doesn’t have to hard to write.

How to Write an Owner-Operator Trucking Business Plan

An owner-operator trucking business plan may be intimidating.  You may think it’s so industry-specific that no one can help you with it.

In fact, an owner-operator trucking business plan is pretty much like every other business plan.  There are several parts, but you can work on each part as you have the opportunity.  If you need help, there are options such as SCORE – an organization of retired business people who help out other businesses for free.  Your local Chamber of Commerce may have some resources to help you.  The local library or even a search on the internet will help you find out the steps.

Your business plan will have

  1. an executive summary
  2. a company overview
  3. a marketing plan
  4. a set of goals or milestones
  5. a list of the current staff
  6. a financial plan.

Each of the separate parts helps to create a full picture of your trucking business and will help you determine what you need to do next to grow and succeed.

There are business plan software programs that you can buy online to help you through this process.  We don’t have any to recommend, but that doesn’t mean much.  You may find one that helps you – let us know!

This month, we’re going to break down each part of the business plan and how we see it apply to your owner-operator trucking business.  We’ll start with the Executive Summary – it’s your business and you’re the executive.  (Don’t worry, this is a very easy task!)