Most taxi owners get convinced to develop their taxi business plans in the wrong order and usually end up with poor or, even worse, no results.
Most of the sample business plans you find out there focus on the stuff: meters, cars, insurance, office, radio, etc. All these are necessary components for a taxi service, but having all these components doesn’t guarantee you’ll make any money.
You need to understand that having equipment does not equal getting results and making money in this business.
What typically happens is that the taxi business owner recognizes the need for promoting his taxi business. Due to the workload of most taxi business owners, this decision is frequently limited to giving away business cards and is highly influenced by what an advertising salesperson comes with that week. The company selling the advertising comes up with an ad to suit the taxi business owner’s budget. What ad salesperson is selling is ad space and not results.
This is the equivalent of shooting a gun and then aiming afterwards. Not much chance of hitting your target. How do you do it properly? You think about it from the very beginning, at the stage when you are creating your business plan. Here are the steps:
1. Define Your Target Market.
Your target market is who you think the potential customers of your taxi service are. The better you can define the potential customers of your taxi service, the more accurately you will be able to aim your marketing message at them. The best way to define your target market is by conducting customer surveys of your best existing customers. Find out about where they live, where they work, whether they are married, if they have children, what their level of income is, what newspapers they read, what radio stations they listen to, etc.
2. Develop Your Marketing Message.
To craft an advertising message for your potential customers, you need to come up with your unique selling proposition (USP).
You can determine your USP by answering the following question:
“Why would potential customers choose your taxi company versus all other options available to them?”
Do you have the cleanest cars, do you drivers know their way around town better than anyone else, do your cars always arrive on time for the pick ups, is your company the safest (i.e. no car accidents) in town, etc. You get the idea. I don’t know what it is for your taxi business, but you have to know. That is the message you promote. Many taxi businesses have difficulty with this. They don’t think they offer anything different. If that is the case, then you need to create something that makes you different.
To give you an example how important the USP is, let me tell you about an individual who with his brother decided to go into the restaurant business. Early on the restaurant was unsuccessful and one brother bailed out on the other. The brother left with the restaurant eventually came up with a USP so powerful that it made him a multimillionaire and revolutionized his business. His USP?
“Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” I probably don’t have to tell you the name of the company. Ton Monaghan’s USP clearly positioned Domino’s Pizza as the solution when you want to eat in and want something quickly. Note that Tom’s USP didn’t mention anything about the best ingredients or the best recipe from the heart of Italy. Just “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Simple and to the point. Tom’s USP was one of the main reasons in making him a millionaire. That is the power of a truly great USP.
It isn’t necessarily easy. Some business owners take a lot of time before they finally hit on something that really works for their customers. But each time this is done, patience had paid off very handsomely.
3. Choose Your Media That Best Matches Your Target Market.
Once you have your target market and your marketing message defined, only then you choose the media that closely matches those characteristics.
Why should I choose your taxi service versus every other competitive option available to me? The answer to that question is the focus of your marketing message and should absolutely be thought through at the stage of creating a business plan for your taxi service. Use it to exploit the weaknesses of your competitors and “Beat the Pants Off Your Competition!”
Want more information on promoting and marketing a taxi business? My book is a great place to start. You can get it here: 17 Mistakes You Must Avoid That Can Ruin Your Taxi Business