One thing almost all food truck business owners around the country need is more sales. Have you ever wondered how good business planning can help you find new customers for your mobile food business? The key for any owner is to take a step back from your daily routine and reconsider your strategy, as well as its impact on sales from your truck. While you were busy building your mobile food empire, your local market or your customer base may have changed. You can sometimes identify these changes by asking other truck owners, searching online or joining a business class to give yourself some new angles.
After that, your goal should be to redevelop your food truck business plan by adding new sales initiatives to your mobile food empire milestones. Each initiative should involve specific responsibilities that can be assigned to specific people within your organization, with start dates, end dates and budgets.
Here are a few steps that should set you on a trip to finding new customers for your rolling bistro and hopefully to higher sales as well:
Sell more to existing customers. This is the quickest path to healthy growth. The best example I’ve ever seen is the computer store that contacted its entire customer base and reminded them all that they were most likely overdue for upgrading their data storage, networking gear, printers, software and computers. This company created a special promotion and cleared some old inventory in the process.
How could something like that work for your business? The computer store story illustrates how customers can be grateful for reminders, and be ready to say yes to improved performance. Essentially, there are three parts to it: Determining what you can offer that relates to your customers and business offering, how to turn it into an event and how to get the message out to customers.
And when you come up with something, put it into the milestones of your business plan. Give it a start date, end date, and a person in charge. Estimate additional sales so you’ll know, for next time, whether you underestimated or overestimated.
Review your pricing. Price is the most powerful marketing message you have. What’s most important isn’t the high or low of it, but how it matches your strategy.
Some food truck businesses are built around visible low pricing to bring people up to their service window and generate higher unit sales, while others offer higher quality ingredients and need a higher price to communicate that message. A problem with frequent low pricing is that your mobile food business may wind up losing customers who assume your menu items isn’t great because the price doesn’t match it.
Should you decide to revise your pricing, make sure you reflect that in your sales forecast, and in your marketing messages. Synchronize what you’re saying to your customers with what your price says to your customers. And then, most important, make sure you deliver the value you promise. Put that into your business plan as a task in the milestones.
Review your marketing message. That means both the core content of your message, and how you deliver it. Most food truck businesses use social media – particularly Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to spread the word of upcoming menu changes or daily parking locations. Others truck owners are using older methods such as email marketing.
Find a way to make this effort concrete and measurable in your plan. Add specific measurement, whether it’s ads, page views, web visitors, retweets, Klout.com score, friends, links or whatever. And make sure to track results and follow up on results.
Expand into nearby markets. That means either selling something new and different to your existing customer base or selling what you’ve always sold to new types of customers. Either option is usually more realistic than trying to develop a completely new menu while trying to sell it to a different client base than you’re used to.
Whatever avenue you decide on, make sure to add it to your existing food truck business plan. As often as possible, include measurement and tracking so you can tell if you’ve successfully implemented the new plan. Then you follow up and review actual results regularly so you can see what’s going right and what isn’t, and make the necessary adjustments to maximize the profits your food truck brings in.