Additionally, to further improve user experience and conversions, we made improvements to the overall look and feel for the website and app.
We moved from a dark-themed page to a more “happy” page with a lot of white space.
Still a lot more to be done to further improve conversions and we are tracking this on a daily basis through our funnels and UX tools such as Hotjar.
But we’re getting there!
New products and markets
Circa Q1 to Q2, many enquired why didn’t we build a mobile app.
Quite simply the answer was we thought that nobody wanted to download an app for one-time use (house moving).
However, in Q2 we laid groundwork to roll-out a new product – 4×4 (Hilux, Ranger).
4×4 is a very interesting space and an uncharted territory for us (I find myself reciting the “Where no man has gone before” quote while typing this).
Using lorries and vans are somewhat legal as they are commercial vehicles. But 4x4s are a different animal – they are private vehicles of which we are using them for commercial applications.
Very “Uber” like.
With the roll-out of this 4×4 product, we saw the need for consumers as well as small and medium/mom-and-pop shops to use them on a more regular basis. Perhaps to deliver stock to clients and inter-branch movements.
Perhaps, they need an app to book these regular deliveries.
We started hiring for talent and proceeded to build our mobile apps.
Took a few months and Android was finally launched in August.
iOS – two months later in October.
4×4 now comprise about 1/3 of all our bookings. While lorries & vans 2/3. A year ago 4×4 did not exist.
We created a new market and a pool of dedicated, hard working partners who now earn additional income using their 4x4s.
And overall, for the most recent month, almost 50% of our bookings comes from both the apps! Our friends at CARPUT too have been surprised by their mobile app engagement.
In hindsight, one of the better decisions we made for 2016.
Knowing our numbers and a costly mistake
“Guys, I don’t think you know your numbers.”
Early in 2016, we were WHACKED by one of our mentors for not knowing our numbers.
Critical operational numbers such as GP per customer, customer acquisition costs and revenue broke down by division.
We immediately took steps to create a daily Dashboard (now managed by our lovely Data Analyst).
Having this allowed us to understand our numbers more intricately, track our performance, view trends and to sound the bells if a trend was off.
But knowing our numbers doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes.
We made one – a costly one.
Can’t really dive into details on this particular mistake, but safe to say – we would be better off if we had NOT taken the business opportunity.
It was one of those situations where an opportunity knocked and Chee and I, being entrepreneurs, took it on without question.
But it was a field we had no experience in and a clear plan to go unit economics profitable.
Our attitude: “Do first. Think later.”
An attitude which has served us well previously. But in this particular case – not so effective.
We were attracted to the potential growth in top line revenue but did not quite think about the costs.
Oh, we did do financial models to calculate our cost structure and break-even point.
But at the end of the day, things and circumstances change and the model you built 3 months ago were no longer applicable.
Perhaps it’s also our weakness we did not see those changes.
In the end, we ended up in a situation where we selling our service for RM1 and our cost was RM2.
And there was no way for us to increase the price to RM3.
In Q3, we decided to exit the business.
But with more knowledge than ever before.
A year for personal growth
Personally, 2016 has been an amazing year. I’ve learned so much from TheLorryexperience.
It is a year where I got rid of my fears for public speaking – something I used to hate.
But through practice and after doing it a number of times this year, that fear is perhaps 95% gone.
I still get butterflies prior to going on stage, but the moment I’m on the stage – I feel confident as ever.
Side note: I’m only confident if you ask me to talk about TheLorry or entrepreneurship. These topics I can talk till 3am. If you ask me to comment about government policy or politics – don’t think I can do it.
It is also a year where I really learned about people management and leadership, a topic I’ve read so many times via reading John Maxwell’s books but never quite practiced it.
This year, I got to the chance to put it to practice via managing 40-odd people.
If you asked me what is the biggest pain of running a startup – it’s managing your people! It’s a headache, I tell you.
However, with proper delegation as well as clear communication as to vision, goals and KPIs – I’m sure the headache can be reduced. 🙂
To our partners, thank you for the support given. Without you, there’s no TheLorry today.
To our customers, thank you for the heartfelt reviews, support and recommendation. We truly appreciate it.
To our One Tonners, thank you for being amazing people. I only wish you continue to achieve greater heights next year and please know that Chee and I will be here continue to support you.
Hope you enjoyed this article and do let me know in the comments if you have any questions/feedback. I can be also reached on my Facebook at Nadhir Ashafiq.
Finally, I thank Allah everyday for giving me the chance to build this company and make a difference in people’s lives.