The First Step In Recovery Is Admitting You Have A Problem

Eugene Suslo
Jul 15, 2015

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I flew in late to Indianapolis for a business trip and found myself in line to take a Taxi to my hotel. This was not my first trip to Indianapolis, so I knew this was only a 15 minute ride to my hotel, which past experience and Google Maps helped me with this determination. It was a good thing that the Taxi line was short, seeing as coming from California I was not prepared for the midwest cold that evening. I got into my Taxi and I was off to my hotel.

As my Taxi approaches the hotel we get to the point where I need to pay, and seeing as I just sat on a plane for 6 hours, I was not in the mood for grief. I was told by the Taxi driver my fare, and there was no arguing because this was a business expense, but I didn’t have cash. Then came the grief. Asking if I had cash because the Taxi did not want to pay the 2-3% credit card fee. This was and always is a problem for me in Taxis. I do not carry cash regularly and pay for most things exclusively with a credit card, especially on business. I would even be willing to pay the Taxi Drivers 3% fee to use a credit card, as long as I wasn’t given grief about the situation. This event occurred before Taxi Apps and Uber were everywhere. This is the problem Taxis had, and was subsequently exploited.

What Is The Problem

The first step to any recovery is admitting you have a problem. An example of this is TSA in America. TSA has admitted they have a problem at Airport security and are looking for help, knowing they cannot accomplish this on their own. It is time that Taxi’s admit they have a problem with their current system and set about to fix it. This is where we begin the journey to bring Taxi companies to the forefront of the transportation industry again. Helping them look at their current system, and in the words of the startup community, Pivot.

The problem that is plaguing the Taxi companies is one of identity and the adoption of technology. These are two problems the industry is focusing on and we are going to discuss the initial steps in our multipart series. The first step is creating a plan. In order to have an identity you need to have a strategy for how your company is to operate and be perceived in the market place. This strategy involves understanding your customer, your market, and your business. As the Taxi industry is shifting it is time to reevaluate the current model of your business and pivot.

Who Is Your Customer?

The first step in any business, large or small, is to define who your customer is. In order to define the customer you need to know what specific problem you are trying to solve. The following example is fitting and hits close to home. When Uber saw that Taxis did not have a mobile app, mobile payment, and mobile car hailing, they defined a problem they could solve in the market. This identification is how they have capitalised on a market niche. With the problem that Uber saw, they began to picture who their ideal customer was. The common mistake a lot of business owners make is assuming everybody is their possible customer. By appealing to everyone you end up appealing to no one.

In the case of Uber, I would suspect they saw their ideal customer as someone in their 20s, tech savvy, and living in a major urban city, such as San Francisco or New York. If you are a traditional Taxi company maybe you make your target customer a frequent male business traveler. This gets you specific so you can understand the exact problems your customer is having.

The first step in creating your new identity in the changing Taxi world is understanding your customer and solving their current problem.

What Is Your Strategy?

Once you have defined your customer, specifically, it is time to decide where they are. Knowing where your customer is will allow you to know how to reach them. This is your business strategy. Your strategy is to reach your customers, whether it is discussing future trips to your city while they use your service, working with their corporate travel department, or approaching them through digital campaigns. The goal of the strategy is to get in front of your ideal prospects and turn them into customers and ideally fans. In your local market this is how you beat competition like Uber. The strategy is your road map to accomplishing this, and without it, you may as well be protesting against the likes of Uber. Which we are coming to find that protesting is not benefiting Taxi drivers.

What Is Your Business Model?

Now that you have your customer, and your business strategy, it is time to create a business model. The business model is how you operate your business. This includes everything from how employees get paid, how you make money, and how you receive payment. Think of this as the guideline to your business. TaxiStartup has performed all of these tasks in order to compete on an effective level and we want our partner Taxi’s to do the same.

The business plan should include a mission statement, which will provide you with a guiding principle. The business plan should then consist of the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Marketing Plan
  3. Financial Plan
  4. Operations Plan

With this guide you will have a well defined business plan in order to compete in the ultra competitive and now disruptive Taxi industry.

As the Taxi industry moves forward, it is time to pivot and redefine the purpose and market of your Taxi company. With this guide to begin assessing your business model, market, and the competition, you can now take on the industry and win customers.