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Podcast: Trucking Entrepreneurial Pro Tips with Seretha Willingham, CEO and Founder of SJW Logistics

Seretha Willingham

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On the Freight Nation podcast, we aim to motivate others to innovate the logistics industry or enhance their tools and services to improve how the freight business runs. And this week’s guest, Seretha Willingham, CEO and Founder of SJW Logistics, embodies this mindset with her persistence and perseverance.

Seretha rapidly grew her business from one truck to a full service 3PL by continuing to learn from others around her and working to improve at every turn.

In this episode, Seretha Willingham, sits down with host and Truckstop Chief Relationship Officer, Brent Hutto, to discuss her five pro tips for logistics entrepreneurship along with important lessons she’s learned along the way.

Make a Plan

Planning is key to any successful roadmap. Companies start out small, with just an idea to solve a problem. But for longevity, you need a plan for growth.

Seretha explains, “It starts small, and then it grows everything. It starts small and grows. And so I said, OK, this is what I’ll do. I’ll start small, do my learnings there, and then I’ll grow.”

She followed the same methods, doing what she knew best from her product background and creating a plan for SJW Logistics. She advises everyone else to do the same: always plan your work.

Pivot Quickly Off a Bad Idea

Small business owners are passionate about the details of their business. However, this can mean holding on to everything, even when it’s not working, and then feeling like a failure when things don’t go your way.

She explains, “Don’t waste money on things for long, so if it doesn’t work, you move on because there are so many opportunities out there. You just gotta keep trying things until you find something that works.”

You’ve always got to be prepared to pivot off a bad idea.

Protect Your Investment

No one knows your business as well as you do. Do your due diligence if something seems suspicious or warrants a second look. Fraud is rampant in the freight industry. Create checkpoints for processes and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Do an Honest Evaluation

In order to grow, you have to evaluate what’s working—and what’s not. And from there, be willing to make tough decisions to cut where needed so your business can grow in the long run.

Talking about the things that don’t go so well and developing actionable strategies for how to improve are the only ways they will grow, according to Seretha. Make use of your intellectual resources and leverage data to drive your decisions.

Foster Long-Term Relationships

Making and keeping good relationships is important for growing and staying stable over time in the freight business. When you build strong connections, weathering the market cycles is easier.

People also prefer to work with people and companies they trust. So, by focusing on relationships, you’re not just doing business; you’re building a strong network that helps everyone succeed in the long run.

Always Follow the Process

Shortcuts and excuses are always easy to find. But both may sacrifice your long-term goals. Follow the processes you put in place, even if you need to make modifications, and it will help keep you on track.

To learn more about how ocean freight impacts the supply chain, tune into this episode of Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform.

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