Starting a business involves finding the perfect location. One that will be in the heart of where your customers are, and one that has everything you need to be successful. But at the end of the day, choosing a location is always a gamble, and one that is easily avoided by those starting mobile businesses like food trucks.
Mobile businesses allow for you to have the ultimate location because you can change it when something just isn’t working. Think of it like a pop-up shop, but more cost effective because your space is your truck. There’s also the benefit of having an easier to maintain business location, although a mechanic can be expensive, it can be cheaper than repairing a major water issue, or making sure the air conditioner is working for your customers.
Because of these benefits, and of course a few more, mobile businesses are becoming more and more popular. Gone are the days of only seeing ice cream trucks, in 2016 we’ve seen almost every kind of food truck we can imagine, and we’ve even seen businesses like In Pursuit Mobile Boutique which asides from having an online store, also runs a mobile retail establishment.
After spotting her first fashion truck in Boston, In Pursuit owner and operator, Dominique Leger had bells and whistles go off. “When you’re mobile, you’re in control. You get to go where the people are, there’s no waiting around and hoping they come to you,” she explained. But even though starting a mobile business comes with its many benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges, many of which, Dominique has had to learn the hard way. So here are her tips for those wanting to go mobile to help get you started on the right foot.
Know the rules
As a mobile retailer, rules and regulations will be the number one thing that stand in your way and they’re different everywhere you go. Dominique suggests reaching out to whoever you can that can give you the best understanding of the by-laws and regulations in your community. “This will ultimately make or break you,” she stressed. “You could have the coolest boutique concept in the world, but if you can’t open your doors when you park your truck, no one will be able to share your passion with you.”
Build a community
Dominique calls her customers “truck girls” and treats them like they’re her best friends. Without customers you wouldn’t have a business, so make them your most important piece to your company’s puzzle and let their feedback guide your business. Dominique has a 24/7 policy with In Pursuit which means that even if her truck isn’t open, customers can still find her products online and order them. She even offers emergency roadside service for those that can’t make it to the truck while it’s popped up and want to try something on. In a competitive world, it can be hard to stand out, so offering something unique can be what differentiates you from all the rest.
Don’t be afraid of trial and error
Look at problems as opportunities, as this will force you to think outside the box and come up with interesting solutions on how to make things better the next time. Everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Chances are, after a couple years in business, your business isn’t going to look the same as your original plans, and that’s okay. So learn from failures, try new things, and ask for feedback to help you adapt and grow.
Keep it unique
It’s easy to be swayed by what other people are doing, but it’s important to remember to be yourself and stay true to your vision. “Make sure to remind yourself of your why often, especially when you’re feeling like you’re heading off track or need motivation,” Dominique advised. What makes your business unique is what’s going to draw in customers and make you stand out from what everyone else is doing.
For Dominique, it may have taken almost a year and half to finally get an okay from her city to set up shop on the move in her community, but she didn’t let that stop her. With doing her research, staying true to her vision and idea, and being persistent, she made her business into a success on wheels.