Youthink! The World Bank's blog for youth
Syndicate content

Turning empty trucks into a profitable business

Robert Matthams's picture

It’s a little known fact that over 25% of lorries on Britain’s road run empty and over 50% run only part full. This was a stat I stumbled upon during my time at Manchester University when having a pool table delivered to my student house. The driver told me he was heading back to London completely empty and that this was a common problem. I knew right then that there had to be a better way - today Shiply has helped save over 20 million miles in otherwise wasteful journeys around the world.

They often say that the best time to start a business is right out of university / studies and I happen to agree. You are in a position where you have plenty of time and not too many responsibilities or a mortgage to worry about. That certainly was my finding with setting up Shiply anyway.

The fact you are on this web site and you are reading enterprise related articles means that you either have a business or are contemplating setting one up. I think probably the best lesson however, and it’s probably one you’ve read over and over on several business blogs (for good reason) is to just get on and do it. Every day/week/month/year that you make excuses just makes that initial step harder. Your action of getting going will spark further action and help you build momentum.

Find areas of business you find interesting, are commercially viable and just give it a go with very little money / financial risk. If it doesn’t work, you will still learn so much that will drive you to set up another that does – but this time avoiding the same mistakes. There is a wealth of information, contacts, networking events and business awards which can help you on your way (note the word help rather than – do it for you).

You’ll be surprised to see that actually there are a huge number of well-intentioned successful people who will make themselves available to you if you ask in the right places for support and just keep an open mind.

With more and more of the developing world moving online and the costs of internet access falling, there is incredible room for people to set up businesses which first aid their own revenues which they can then use powerfully and ethically to increase local employment and help fund local community projects.

Social enterprise and charities are incredibly valuable, but if you really want to help - then first help yourself! Build up a profitable enterprise and give yourself the power and means to make the really big changes.

Best of luck on your journey.

Photo: © Dana Smillie / World Bank