The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle?”


This phrase perfectly describes the kind of market we currently see in transportation.  


Yes, Squirrel Works is the premier marketing agency for transportation and logistics companies, but we’re transportation people first and foremost. Our job is two-fold. It’s imperative that we stay ahead of the latest trends and strategies in digital marketing while continuing to cultivate our transportation knowledge. The truth is “knowledge” isn’t enough. It’s our job to understand the freight market so we help our customers develop compatible strategies that will put them in position to win. 


The market is soft right now, unless your strategy is to provide customers with bottom of the barrel rates in order to keep or gain new market share. The question remains: is low-balling rates really a strategy?  Experts explain that the soft market is a side-effect of the great year everyone had in 2018 which has resulted in an overabundance of capacity. In addition, our economic outlook is a little fuzzy due to trade wars and political uncertainty. It is what it is–and we can’t control it. But you can control what you and your company does to prepare for the shift because we all know, there’s always a shift. Sure, I understand you’re probably operating in survival mode, but above and beyond that–what are you doing? 


I recently talked with a customer who said his company is operating at 50% operational capacity. He admitted that it’s scary to realize he has that many resources sitting idle, but knows the pendulum will swing and he will need those people. It’s a pretty admirable and upstanding way to do business–refusing to lay people off during downswings. 


I wanted to know what those folks are doing. After all, when a freight brokerage isn’t busy, it’s easy for team members to fall into a lull period. Refreshing your email, and waiting for a new load to come in isn’t a strategy at all. What are you doing to prepare for the day when this oversupply of capacity disappears? Because it will. 


In the military we had a saying, “Train as you fight.”  How are you using this slow time? Are you sharpening your craft? It’s something to think about.


I hope you’re not playing a waiting game.


How many times have you said: 


“Once this RFP is done, we’ll make a decision on technology?” 


“The holidays are coming up. It’s probably better to wait for the new year.” 


“Our load volumes are pretty low right now, so the timing is all wrong.”


 What about:


“We don’t need to hire anyone until we pick up a new shipper.”


“When we post our loads they cover themselves.”


“We can get another few years out of our TMS.”


Unfortunately, we don’t always rise to the occasion, instead falling back to our level of training.  If your training has been taking shortcuts in the slow time, will you be ready when things pick back up?


I recently watched a webinar that reported some early indicators showing our economy might be heading back into a full bull market. Experts explained that maybe what we’ve been experiencing was a new type of recession and that’s the correction. If that’s the case, is your team ready? 


We have to train so hard and sweat so much during the training, so we’ll bleed less in battle.


Don’t put off researching new technology or creating a sales & marketing strategy.  Start thinking about the future of your company and why you will exist in the next five years. 


Put in the work now, so that you’re ready when the battle comes, when the freight comes, when the money comes, when the opportunity comes.


Do the hard work now. If you fail to train, you’re training to fail.


“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.”


Get out there and sweat everyone.