The mobile vending business can be a rewarding and challenging career. There are keys to success that if followed can help almost anyone achieve their financial goals. I have taken what I have learned in the wholesale ice cream industry and condensed it into the ten habits that are necessary to prosper. I am sure there are other skills needed but In my opinion these are the ten most important. In the long run habits or routines can be added but this is a good beginning and will give you the base to build off of.
Responsible. I know this sounds obvious but there are a lot of people out there that think they know what being responsible means. Not everyone knows. I suggest you find a mentor or friend that is successful in business and ask them. Look it up if you have to. You, as a business owner, have many responsibilities to your family, employees, yourself… etc. It is a long list. Learn about it and live it. This is one of those things you have to be certain you know what it means.
Organized. It is crucial that you keep every aspect of your business organized. The only way to be sure of what works and what doesn’t is to stay organized. Do not try to remember everything. That may work at the start when you are small but as you grow it will become too much. Be organized from the beginning and it will be much easier to stay organized.
Flexibility. The ability to change course or plans and knowing when. I would include learning from your mistakes as part of being flexible. You realized you made a mistake and you have the wherewithal to realize it and make the needed changes without letting it become a bigger problem.
Resilient. In my opinion, being resilient can be the toughest to maintain. Staying resilient when others would have given up or when the taxman is making it increasingly painful or through whatever hardship you are facing can be challenging and rewarding.
Courteous. A courteous and polite business owner promotes repeat customers and referrals. It can be difficult to be courteous all of the time but it is a talent that can be cultivated. The way the owner acts will reflect on others and set the tone for how your employees treat your customers.
Good with People. This is different then being courteous. It is important to be friendly and likable. Customers who are comfortable will visit again. Also, being good with people opens up doors to networking which leads to better business opportunities.
Presentable. It is perfectly acceptable to dress in the latest fashion at the club or other social event but when it comes to dealing with the public it is best to dress conservatively. Keeping yourself and your clothes clean and presentable gives your customers confidence that the products you serve are clean and safe. There aren’t many quicker ways to lose a customer then handing them food with dirty nails.
Vehicle Maintenance. It will seem overwhelming with all of the other things to do but look at it like a cowboy looks at his horse. The cowboy, no matter how long and tough the day, always takes care of his horse before taking care of himself. The cowboy does that because without the horse he is out of business. If your vehicle breaks down because of lack of preventative maintenance then you are out of business.
Do your homework. As in know what you are getting into before you start. Do the research on what local permits are needed and what are the tax implications. You may find out it is not for you so it would be better to find that out before you make an investment in time and money. The research you do now will help you avoid the pitfalls that could ruin your business before getting it off the ground. Find the lawyer and accountant now so that you can take advantage of their knowledge and experience from the beginning.
Keep your mind and body clean. This could be the most important factor. If your mind is not clear then it is tough to make clear decisions. If your body is not right then it is tough to work the hours necessary. Let us be clear. No one is suggesting that you should live link a monk or be physically fit like an Army Ranger but keeping a clear mind and staying reasonable healthy will payoff in the long-term. Taking time off to spend with your family and friends is part of keeping your mind clean. You will need to find the work and life balance.
There may be some other characteristics to add to this list but, in my humble opinion, this encompasses what is the most important. For the most part, anything else will stem from one of the above. My advice would be to take each of the factors above and research one at a time until you have a firm grasp on what it means. If you feel as if I have left something out then please feel free to print this out and add to it or share it and improve it. The goal here is to get you thinking about what it takes to run an ice cream truck or any mobile vending business and to make it profitable.
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