When you’re a small business, you face challenges that bigger operations just don’t understand. Especially in times like these, it can be difficult for a small business to stay afloat. What works for the big guys may not work for you, and that’s fine! You’ll need to find the methods best for you and stick with them for your business to grow and succeed. Let’s first determine the challenges small businesses face, then delve into fleet management for small business tips.
What Challenges do Small Businesses Face?
Small businesses face a lot of the same challenges that bigger businesses do, but they also have to deal with some distinct challenges that are unique to them. These obstacles include:
Competition: When you’re a small business, your competitors may be much larger than yourself. This means you have to compete with companies that have more resources and tools at your disposal.
Tighter Budgets: Small businesses obviously don’t have as much money coming in as larger businesses do. This makes it difficult to improve or grow, and working within a small budget can make it challenging to expand, gain more customers, and hire more staff. Therefore, these companies are always looking for ways to cut costs.
Less Room for Error: Reputation and budget are critical for your small business. Making a mistake can cost you money you don’t have or cause you to lose a customer you can’t afford to lose. Large businesses have more substantial cushions that they can fall back on, but small businesses don’t have that luxury.
3 Tips for Small Businesses
No. 1: Automate!
You have enough on your plate! And as we’ve mentioned, you have little room for error and minimal money to put aside for excess administrative costs. All the while, you have to keep your vehicles on the road and your expenses under control. If you’re still using paper and spreadsheets, you’re wasting time, money, and resources.
If you’re putting off investing in fleet management software in hopes of saving money, you’re making a mistake! Fleet management software will save you immensely in time and money by automating many of the processes you use daily. From fleet tracking to maintenance needs to driver safety and everything in between, you’ll have all the data you need to keep your business on track.
No. 2: Understand Your Operating Costs
Knowing your bottom line is the best way to measure how your business is doing. The figure you have to monitor is your total cost of ownership or TCO. With this number, you can easily control your expenses and make informed decisions for your fleet’s welfare.
TCO is made up of two categories: fixed and variable expenses. You may recognize some fixed costs like insurance and registration. These expenses stay the same year to year. Meanwhile, variable costs will change based on your fleet’s size, type, and efficiency. The two variable costs you should be looking out for are fuel and maintenance. Check out our blog articles, 3 Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs and 5 Ways to Save Money on Fleet Maintenance, for details on minimizing these costs for your fleet.
Understanding and controlling operating costs is another aspect of management where you will need fleet management software. Tracking your TCO manually is complex and can lead to costly mistakes. Fleet management software collects data across your fleet’s operations and gathers it into digestible reports that help you easily determine your TCO and return on investment (ROI).
No. 3: Optimize Vehicle Inspections
There are two reasons you should optimize your vehicle inspection methods. One, it ensures that your vehicles are well-maintained and keeps them on the road. When your vehicles are in the shop, that downtime costs you money. Second, you always want to comply with the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s regulations. The DOT can hit you with devastating fines if they find you out of compliance, and a small business can’t afford these consequences.
How can you optimize these inspections? By digitizing them! You don’t want to waste your time with paper inspection forms that can get ruined or lost. Electronic daily vehicle inspection reports (eDVIRs) are much easier to manage. Not only are they easier to access when the DOT requests them, but they make it easier to track your vehicles’ maintenance needs.
Invest for Success
Investing in fleet management software can be scary for a small business. You want to ensure you’re putting your money into something that will benefit your business in the long term. Partner with someone with experience in the fleet industry who has worked with fleets just like yours. Azuga knows fleets in all industries, big and small, and can work with you to get you what you need at a cost that works for you. Try a demo with one of our experts and see what you can accomplish with our expertise.