Thursday, June 26, 2008

Know who you are

“What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him”.

Louis L. Mann

In Stan Toler’s book minute motivators for leaders Stan spends a chapter discussing the importance of self-evaluation as leaders. I consider anyone who has come through our course a leader. They are motivated enough to scrape up the money (or commit to a financing agreement) to pay for the education and they have chosen to step out of their comfort zone to learn something new. To be a success Toler’s word are insightful:

Neither congratulations nor criticism should take a leader by surprise. That’s because no friend or detractor can say anything that the leader doesn’t already know. Leaders who examine themselves will avoid being swayed by flattery or wounded by criticism. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they know when they’re heading in the wrong direction.

They can accept praise without becoming conceited. They know that many of their accomplishments come form the contributions of their associates. When they accept the applause of others, they are inwardly extending a hand toward their team members.

And they can listen to criticism without taking offense. Since they have a great sense of purpose and direction, constructive criticism can only help to propel them toward their objectives.

Good leaders are comfortable in their own skin. They know what’s true about them, and they don’t mind hearing it. They also know their weakness, and so they listen to suggestions that will help them fulfill their leadership role. Leaders are honest with themselves.

These words are so true but not immediate. I think it takes time to recognize your strengths with humility knowing that you have weaknesses as well.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chunk it

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Mark Twain from Zig

I get a daily quote from Zig Ziglar (my hero) that inspires me. This quote from Mark Twain is so true. I break my stuff into small manageable tasks and try to do the one I don’t want to do first. It amazes me how free I feel when I get that undesirable job done or the one that I’ve been putting off the longest or the one I’m likely not to do if I don’t jump on it first thing (like exercise).

When my kiddos were learning to read their teacher used the term “chunk it” when they got to a “big” word. It is hard to remember when some words were overwhelming, but to a 5 year old a word longer that 3 letters can be quite daunting. Chunk it meant simply dividing the word up into parts and trying to pronounce each part then put it all together. I remember very vividly my daughter slowly pronouncing each sound of each letter then trying to say them fast to figure out what the word was. For “Cat” she’d say Ka – AH – Ta many times with a frowed brow then finally her light bulb would go on, she’d get this amazing look on her face and correctly say “cat”.

So remember when your 50 calls or finding a truck for a load seems unmanageable. Break it up into one call at a time knowing each call is worth money in the long run because each call is that much closer to a sale.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Congrats Lance

Lance White, one of our Dallas instructors, was recently named National Accounts Manager for Exel as their expedited freight specialist. Way to go, buddy.

Our website brags on our great instructors. We aren't the only ones who know their value. Our most current Dallas Forth Worth student testimonials also praised Lance White, their guide for his excellence:

If you want to be a freight broker/agent Brooke Training is the only way to go! I feel I received the best training for my money, with real world knowledge, taught in a relaxed but extremely professional classroom environment. I feel armed with all the tools to be a success. Bryan S

Great week! Lots of information plus hands on training. Lance (instructor) was very patient and thorough, had a great attitude and humor. Well worth the time and money. Robby B

My partner is an owner-operator. We want to start our own brokerage but I knew next to nothing about the industry. Brooke gave me real world training, resources and practical tips. Lance, a broker himself took us through some real loads he was working. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to hit the ground running.

If it is true that you are known by the company you keep. I must be pretty well known since I keep company with Lance on occasion.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do you need money to make money?

Friday I sent out an article by Scott Allen from his entrepreneur’s blog.

What did he sight as the most important thing for a biz? Cash flow. Although a cushion of money is critical, it doesn't have to be your own money.

Many of our freight broker students begin class determined to open their own brokerage then decide to be an agent instead. One of the main reasons is cash flow. When you work as an agent your parent brokerage can help with cash flow. In either case you are your own boss, just as an agent you have some back end support. The last day of class we introduce our students to select large and small brokerages looking for agents.

We also require, as much as we can require, our students to build up their savings to at least 6 months of living expenses so that they can start their business with the cushion of money it may take before deals start paying off.

We have had many a student land a big, solid deal with a shipper within weeks of the start of freight brokering. But by in large a newbie has to stay the course for what may seem like an eternity before getting a nod.

There are a lot of get rich quick schemes out there preying on our instant gratification mentality. But they are schemes not real avenues to build a career. Freight Brokering is a great opportunity to build a solid business for those who recognize the value of hard work and stick to itism.

So get out there and make some calls. The golden call is around the corner.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Most Important Thing

What would you say is the most important thing in any business? Scott Allen offers this insightful article:

The Single Most Important Thing in Any Business

From Scott Allen’s Entrepreneurs blog

Friday was a tough day for me. A friend of mine - an entrepreneur - hit rock bottom, and did so very publicly. After three years of trying to build his dream business, he still isn't even managing a survival-level livelihood. The thing is, he's had income opportunities, but turned them down, ostensibly because they didn't fit with his vision for his business.

I believe that entrepreneurs should pursue their passion and be true to their vision of their business. But the idea of "do what you love and the money will follow" can be extremely dangerous. There's more to it than that. You also have to offer a product or service that people are willing to buy at a price that can provide you an acceptable profit margin. And you have to sufficiently promote it to attract enough paying customers to make you a living.

But most importantly, you have to survive. You have to be able to cover not only basic living expenses, but basic business expenses, e.g., office supplies, maintaining your computer and other office equipment, phone and internet access, etc.

The single most important thing in any business is cash flow.

As Philip Cambell says in his article, "The 10 Rules of Cash Flow 101":

Never Run Out of Cash. Running out of cash is the definition of failure in business. Make the commitment to do what it takes so it doesn't happen to you. [...] It's important to recognize that the basics of cash flow 101 are what keeps your business alive. Manage it with the care and attention it deserves. It's very unforgiving if you don't. Remember, cash is king, because no cash means no business.

Without cash flow, nothing else matters. Without cash flow, it all ends, and you go back to a j-o-b. Without cash flow, your stress level goes through the roof. And lack of cash flow will destroy your relationships -- with employees and suppliers when you can't pay them, and with family as it takes its toll on your personal finances as well.

When your business has cash flow, you can talk about things like being more selective about the customers and projects you take, or even dropping non-performing clients. But when you're in survival mode, you do whatever it takes, even if that means taking work you don't really want or even taking a part-time job. Don't let pride, stubbornness or misplaced faith blind you to this reality.

Have a great weekend.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Procrastinators are OK

Have you ever procrastinated... then waited a bit more because you've lost your inspiration, motivation or are just plain scared? One of the greatest rewards of training is when students become friends. I heard recently from a graduate from last summer’s June class. His words should encourage any student out there who has not yet lived up to his expectation as a freight broker. I suggest making a game plan of your prospecting as he has with

“As is true with a lot of people that go through your training, I had the best intentions of getting started right away in this business. Unfortunately, because of a number of factors, including, but not at all limited to: starting another business, driving graveyard full time for Ryder, and several serious, and I might add, completely unexpected medical issues, I wasn't able to follow through at that time.
Well, I am happy to say I was finally able to resign my position as a driver for Ryder and am currently working on a couple of other business projects, in addition to working with I am going through their database of manufacturers that have used their services in the past, or still are today. Although the list isn't as long as I hoped, around 300, it still gives me some "warm" call opportunities to find some prospects, that will hopefully also be potential customers at some point. I have a button on their website as their exclusive point of contact for anyone who needs help with expedited freight. Jan (Roach) said it was good I was on there, something about being optimized, having that internet "real estate."

The internet has opened up a lot of avenues for prospecting but remember it is still about making relationships. Find an avenue and stay with it.

I’d love to hear from any other graduates out there who are tasting success.

Moving forward,
Jeff Roach

Monday, June 16, 2008

It’s another manic Monday. I hit the ground running today. Just remember that every call you make may be the big one…and even if it isn’t the big one it is a call that leads you that much closer to the big one. Everyone I talk with has a story to tell. Listen to a few stories and soon you will have a relationship and that relationship may turn into business, if not be glad you have a relationship. One of the factors in having a happy life is having friends who listen. Be that kind of friend.

I talked to a student recently that has been at it for 3 months - he secured a 30 million dollar account…yes you read right a 30 million dollar account. That’ll buy you a lot off the dollar menu.

I checked it out (since I know some salesmen tend to exaggerate) and it's for real. I asked him how in the world he snagged that account. He said he “cold called” them. The shipper had just hired a new traffic manager and since they both were new the traffic manager said if you can move all of this freight I will give it to you.

I helped him secure some major carriers to get the loads moved. Now he will make over a million dollars this year as an agent.

This does not happen but maybe once or twice in your career.

I asked him why he made that call. He said I was at work doing my job. I hope this inspires you not to ever give up. I said man you won the lottery - he said back to me Jeff I did not win anything. I earned it and it started with your class.

Make the calls - it works.

God Bless.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cross-dock Revival

Cross-docking is an old idea with a new life, thanks to soaring transportation costs and capacity issues that are forcing shippers with time-sensitive supply chains to turn their warehouse operations into flow-through distribution channels.

"In an era when we have a strong emphasis on minimizing inventory and its costs, the cross-dock is sometimes referred to as the perfect warehouse," said Richard Armstrong, CEO of Armstrong & Associates, in his "Warehousing in North America: 2007" report.

Cross-docking was long regarded as a challenging, piecemeal strategy best suited to dealing with one-off distribution situations. But Thomas Patterson, senior vice president of warehouse operations at Saddle Creek, a third-party logistics and warehouse provider, said pain at the fuel pump may be convincing some shippers and service providers that the trade-off with cross-docking complexity is worth the other supply chain savings.

"I think the most important element here is that this is not a brand new concept by any stretch of the imagination," Patterson said. "But given the issue not only with just-in-time demand but also with fuel prices, you really have to construct an optimal supply chain, and cross docking… can be very effective to solve niche problems and challenges as well as supply-chain-wide challenges."

In an anonymous online survey performed for Saddle Creek by Reed Business, 52 percent of 547 respondents said they were currently cross-docking; 28 percent said they'd been doing it for more than 10 years. The strategy has enjoyed a renewed popularity, the Reed Business survey found, with 32 percent having adopted the practice within the past three years.

Patterson defined cross-docking as the process of receiving a product and shipping it out the same day using processes and technologies that bestow some supply chain efficiency that didn't exist before. Those benefits might show up as reducing the number of deliveries to a retailer for an LTL carrier consolidating many shipments into a truckload; or as reduced inventory carrying costs for a shipper using a cross-dock to deconsolidate and then reconsolidate products from multiple plants into customer or route orders for retail delivery.

According to Patterson, cross docking makes the most sense for shippers whose existing order cycles and distribution methods aren't equal to customer requirements; when existing distribution extends cycle times and increases obsolescence; when inefficient distribution creates inefficiencies in production; when lengthening supply chains make on-time performance prohibitively expensive; or when distribution costs exceed sales growth.

The Reed survey found 31 percent of respondents recorded two or more days of cargo storage time at their cross-docks. However the cross-dock is employed, Patterson said, "There have got to be cost savings."

A big barrier to that can be a lack of commitment to the strategy on the part of the 3PL or its customer. "You're not going to be successful in this model if you just put a cross dock out there and don't support it," Patterson said.

"If the guy in manufacturing isn't going to manufacture any differently… if the customer isn't aligned with what you want to do. … The building won't fix that," Patterson said. The cross-dock itself "will become a problem for the supplier, the shipper."

Visibility that tracks the movement of goods is the most important type of technology necessary to supporting a cross-dock. "Technology has to keep up with the speed of the movement of the product," Patterson noted. "The information associated with the product has to move at an equal or better speed. You almost by definition have to be real-time on all your transactions."

For this reason, Patterson said, many shippers rely on third-party logistics providers to run their cross-docks. A 3PL brings expertise, technology and infrastructure that most shippers would rather dedicate to their core competencies, he said.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Friday, June 6, 2008

Down with Commutes

With gas prices heading towards 7.00 a gallon (so they say) a work from home career sounds pretty good, right? Imagine getting up, staying in your pjs, grabbing a cup of coffee then walking across the room to sit down and start working. Now that is the kind of commute I enjoy. No gas required. No dressing up.

There are great benefits to finding a work from home career that works for you. I love training truckers to be a freight broker so they can get off the road, help their fellow truckers keep moving and enjoy a bit more time at home. I love living in a country that allows so many opportunities to work from home. Technology has made it easier and easier to work from anywhere, anytime…and complete training for a work from home career as well. (see

Today while my bride went to Market (she’s an interior decorator) I did a little of my phone calling work with my bluetooth (wireless phone) while I took the kids to school and went for a walk. You have to have some discipline working from home because it is so easy to get distracted. But I know there are plenty of distractions and productivity killers in an office environment as well.

My friend works out of her home for an IT company. Her main clients are in California (she’s in Texas) so she swims laps in the neighborhood pool at 9 a.m. and is back at her desk before her clients wake up because of the 2 hour time difference. My graphic artist works from 8:30 til 3 while her kids are in school and then after 10 p.m. when they go to bed. She gets in a good 8 hours or more and never misses a beat with those kiddos who grow up way too fast.

If more of America would figure out how to work from home perhaps we could solve this gas shortage issue and enjoy our days more.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be Inquisitive

Learn the art of asking friendly questions and you will be a better freight broker… and more fun at parties. So long as they are comfortable with you, people will most likely enjoy answering whatever question you throw their way. I find people quite intriguing, I’m interested in their life, their family, business and personal challenges as well as how I can help them. That is part of relationship building. I am genuinely interested. Not just pretending to be interested. If someone enjoys talking with me they will most likely enjoy doing business with me.

As a child, were you taught that it's rude to ask a lot of questions about other people's activities? As an adult, you will have to unlearn that lesson. To succeed in your own business, you'll need to make continuing efforts to keep informed about your customers and your competitors. You may feel sneaky trying to retrieve information about your competitors. But you'll be left in the dust if you don't keep up with how they are going about doing business, finding customers and affiliates. Making friends with competitors can be helpful to both parties. Perhaps they have a load they can’t cover and need to call another broker. They will call on a broker they know and trust. You may need help getting a shipment delivered and in turn call on them. Competitors and costumers both are key in growing your business.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach