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Window of opportunity: how to open a business in the US during a crisis and why to do it

Hello! Timur Mirzaev is with you again. For those who do not know me, I am originally from Uzbekistan, in 2013 I decided to take a chance and move to the USA. Now I have 9 years of work in the US transport industry behind me, several large companies and impressive experience that I would like to share with you, which I am actively involved in your Instagram. Subscribe!

Photo: Shutterstock

The crisis is already here: why it started and how long it will last

The crisis in the US truck industry began along with military operations in Ukraine. It would seem, what does the United States have to do with it if the war is in Ukraine?.. The fact is that the United States is participating in this war: they are fighting not at the front, but in the diplomatic arena, which greatly affects the domestic economy and politics. In addition, Russia and the United States are closely connected by trade relations, and the turnover of this cooperation has now significantly decreased. In particular, the United States imported a lot of oil from Russia, and now this has been suspended due to sanctions. While the States are adapting to new realities and trying to resolve the situation, the economy is suffering.

And so, with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the crisis in the United States also began, there was a failure in the export and import of goods. Now the ports in the United States are practically free, and before the start of the war, there were huge queues in the ports, the workers did not have time to process the flow of goods. At that moment, in all port states, freight was more expensive than in non-port states, and demand was very high. To date, there is no such demand, the quantity of cargo is decreasing and fuel prices are rising due to the war - the balance of supply and demand is collapsing, which means that freight prices are starting to fall.

China played a role in the formation of the crisis, a hard lockdown was introduced there, due to which Shanghai was closed, and at the same time, Shanghai ports one of the largest in China. This caused a delay in deliveries to the USA and greatly contributed to the overall decrease in the number of shipments.

Another cause of the crisis is the election race in the United States.. During this period, major players in the US market traditionally slow down their activity, taking a wait-and-see attitude, waiting for the outcome of the elections. For large businesses, it is important with whom in power they will have to work further - with Republicans or Democrats. Because the politics of the parties are very different and it is important for business to adapt in time to the new political realities.

Photo: Instagram / timmirzaev

The shortage of materials and spare parts added additional complexity to the crisis. If now, for example, your truck breaks down, then its repair may take several months due to a lack of parts. Previously, the problem could be solved in two days, but now - in two months. The difference is colossal. In my trucking company, for example, we have already encountered this problem and are waiting for almost 10 trucks to be fixed. That is, as you understand, a simple one costs a pretty penny. The problem appeared partly due to the widespread shutdown of production in the States during the period of covid restrictions, and partly due to a sharp decrease in supplies.

The crisis arose due to the combination and coincidence in time of all these reasons, and the market sank heavily. At this stage, all trucking companies suffer to some extent. We now charge the same amount for cargo as we did in pre-Covid times. COVID-19 has given an impetus to the growth in popularity and demand for cargo transportation, and if not for all the reasons listed above, there would be a completely different market situation - in our favor.

Just imagine, for two years we were paid two or even three times more, and now there has been a rollback. Naturally, when the market fell, this contrast was felt strongly. In addition, the price of fuel has more than doubled. It turns out that we are now giving away the margin that we were supposed to take for ourselves for fuel. Truck companies are now almost all at a zero point, not particularly earning.

Although in my practice there were times of crisis (in 2016 and 2019), when we worked in the red: trucks were driven, the team serviced them, but in the end we didn’t get anything from it. Those companies that managed to survive those crises are responding adequately to the current situation. Mostly, I think, companies are closed that did not see a bad market and were not prepared for the crisis.

The main difficulty of this crisis is the unknown. It is not clear when all this will end, because each of the reasons I have indicated can drag on indefinitely. However not all that bad, there is already a positive trend. And it lies in the development of e-commerce, which has stepped far ahead. The more it develops, the greater the demand for cargo transportation. We all hope for it now. As long as e-commerce is booming, someone needs us.

How to save your company in a crisis

1. Based on my experience, I can say that the best thing to do in a crisis is to optimize and reduce costs.

It may seem to you that there is nothing to cut, but believe me, you can always tweak somewhere - reduce staff, close some offices, parking lots, refuse paid subscriptions to some programs, reduce salaries. Here it is important to make a competent financial audit, so as not to miscalculate. Knowing your exact expenses and income is the basis. Any successful business is built on numbers and calculations, you can’t do without them.

2. Another key element of the trucking business is networking.

We often underestimate our relationships with clients, brokers, partners or drivers. They need to be built and played for a long time, and not run from one company to another for discounts, high rates or some other kind of lure. By playing the long game, you earn reputation for your business, which then affects access to more expensive segments.

We approach building relationships within our companies very responsibly, we go to personal meetings, give corporate gifts, and constantly keep in touch. During a crisis, the role of relationships increases even more. For example: if a broker has a choice between a company that he knows, trusts and maintains excellent relations, and a new company or one that, for example, does not treat the broker so well and fulfills its obligations also so-so, then it is obvious that he will give preference for the first. So that (first) company will pick up the best cargo and earn more.

Photo: Instagram / timmirzaev

Developing my projects, I always pay special attention to building relationships. Now I see the results and I can say that even despite the crisis, we manage to keep the bar and outperform many of our competitors in the ratings.

3. No need to hope that everything will be fine, you need to act and adapt to the current realities.

And all this must be done quickly. Decisiveness in a crisis is worth a lot. In difficult periods, I am guided by the phrase: "Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger." Do not sit still, look for opportunities to improve something, optimize, tweak some shortcomings.

Such an opportunity may be the purchase of fuel cards. For truck companies, they are especially popular during a crisis, as they allow you to competently manage and control fuel costs. As part of our CityFuel company, we provide such cards and help truck businesses earn money by refueling their trucks. Now we have about 2000 of our fuel cards in operation. With us, customers save up to 70 cents per gallon of fuel at all major gas stations. We also provide loans to our customers, which means that you will not need to top up your card - the funds will already be credited to it. First you use, then you pay.

Is it worth starting a truck business in a crisis

Yes, it's worth it. The crisis is a unique opportunity for beginners to start. Because the entrance is not so expensive, there are not so many people who want to invest their money in the business, trucks are more or less available (their cost has dropped a little) and there are drivers. So keep it up! Read more about how to start a truck business in America and what investments are needed for this, read here.

What will happen next

This situation cannot last long. The American economy is a powerful machine that has survived more serious crises. And if you take the last 30-40 years, you can see that truck drivers have always been in short supply, which means that there was, is and will be cargo and demand for their transportation. In any case, I believe that it will not get worse. I'm sure when the situation is settled, the truck industry will grow very quickly.

More interesting information about business and life in the USA can be found in my Instagram by hashtags:

  • # team_pro_business - here I write about business ideas, startups and doing business in general;
  • #time_habits - here I talk about my good habits that help me stay effective in life and business;
  • #team_hobby - under this hashtag, I publish what helps me stay in shape and restore energy reserves;
  • #team_development - well, here I share useful books / films / podcasts and other resources for self-development;
  • #time_personal - under this hashtag, look for a story about my move to the USA, the beginning of my business journey and the launch of my first offline business.

Read also on ForumDaily:

A country of opportunities and fierce competition: how an immigrant can open a business in America and not go bust

Turnkey business in the USA: with what investments you can start your own business in America

Trucker work in the USA: how long do you need to study, how to find your company and where they pay more

Truck business in the USA: where to start, what to do and where to go

How to open a business for an immigrant in the USA: all the nuances from A to Z

crisis loudspeakers business in america Timur Mirzaev
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