Imroj Singh dropped out of UCLA, a move that would hinder the progress of many people, but for him opened up new doors of opportunity to work with his father. Together they’ve grown Golden Mile Enterprises into a hugely successful trucking and transportation services company located in Fontana, California. The elder Singh worked for years in a liquor store in Louisiana before finally setting out for himself as a truck driver. In 2015, he started Golden Mile while his son was still in high school. When Imroj went to UCLA, he needed a job to help pay his bills. He worked at a couple of fast food restaurants, but he wanted a bit more of a challenge.
He began working at a trucking company as a dispatcher, and his experience there led him to try out working with his father. Things went so well that he committed himself full time to the Golden Mile and became the Director of Operations. It started with just a couple trucks owned by his dad, but in a few short years they’ve grown the business to a fleet of over 100 modern vehicles that provide pick-ups, deliveries, and transport of freight across the lower 48 states. They are busy building a new terminal in Indianapolis, Indiana, with further terminals planned for locations in New Jersey and Georgia. With his father’s help and collaboration, Imroj has come a long, long way to success in a very short time.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I took the job as a dispatcher for the trucking company because I was bored with working at fast food restaurants. I was in college at the time, but I needed to work to pay my bills. I realized that I really enjoyed the trucking industry and that I might really be able to work with my father.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts about 7:30 in the morning in the office. If I arrive and there’s not any issues to deal with, I take my time reading through business articles, looking for new ways we can invest our money, or what we need to improve on with the business. It depends on the flow. Issues might come up, including a shipment that is running late, or a broker that’s upset. If that’s the case, I try to solve it right away.
Later in the day, I have a chance to talk to our drivers. We have a small break room here where our drivers can hang out. We can chit chat and I try to get as involved as possible with them to learn what issues they’re facing on the road, whether it’s equipment or things we need to change on the back end with the dispatch team. They can talk about a route that they want, whether it’s to go to New Jersey or Florida or wherever they are interested in. I want to help them if I can. Our drivers are the engine of the company, and we put them first. Since my father was a driver, he knows how to treat them.
If everything is going great and I’m not needed, I can always step out and visit clients and see what their issues are. But basically, on a typical day for me, the morning is about customers, and the afternoon, we focus on the drivers. I’m usually the last one to leave.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Everyone in the organization thinks differently, so it is smart to communicate with people to share the best ideas of how to proceed. Ideas can come from anyone, and sometimes I would say the janitor would come up with an idea I couldn’t even think of, so you don’t want to close yourself off to that possibility. That’s where communication comes into play and is so important. We don’t have a thing around here where you’re the employee and I’m the boss. Everyone is on the same page here. This mindset is the key to help us get new ideas on board. Everyone on staff is comfortable coming to me with problems to help me sort through it with them. It’s a good relationship with everyone here. Our employees that work with us treat us like family, and vice versa.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What excites me is the growth potential in our business. That’s what really gets me going. For instance, looking at the situation with COVID. The industry was shut and there was pretty much nothing going on, but instead of just sitting there and doing nothing about it, we figured out a solution. We started working directly with customers instead of the brokers. The brokers create a lot of confusion between carriers and customers and it solved a lot of problems for us to proceed in this manner.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like reading. I never used to like reading but that’s all changed now. It has created so many new areas of interest for me. I’m a huge fan of Warren Buffett. I’ve learned a lot from him that I’ve put it into action. After doing some reading, I got involved into stock market and it’s going well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stay out of trouble. A clean record is worth a million dollars.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Even if someone is telling me something that I disagree with, I still try very hard to understand where they’re coming from and why they think the way they do. We all take different paths, but we need to arrive at the same destination. I’ve been in the shoes of someone young and hotheaded, so it’s important to me to allow people to make mistakes and learn from experience.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When you make mistakes, you must take stock and learn from failure. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of having made the mistakes. It’s when you don’t learn from your mistakes that the problems truly occur.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We have used a lot of brokers in the past, but we’d have carriers that would come in and quote lower than what we did. That’s bad business, in my opinion. Brokers are not being honest, and they are eating up most of the market. That’s one reason why we decided to work directly with customers. Once we learn what they want, we provide it, period. It may require a bit more work and traveling on our end, and sometimes I’m traveling so much I’m only getting a few hours of sleep a day. But it’s the time that you put in and it pays off.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I was a very hotheaded young man when I graduated from high school and joined the company. I used to think I was the only one who knew what was going on, but as you move forward in life, you learn that is not the right way to go. When you have too much ego or attitude in you, it can lead to very bad things. You need to remember where you came from and not be so hotheaded. Someone advised me to start reading as a way to open my mind and acquire more knowledge about the world and how it really works, and that’s what really helped turn me around.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Communication is something that I’m really good at. I communicate very well with other people, so something where communication is the key. I would say to step into a business that you have some idea of how to run. Don’t make a decision based on what people tell you or how it’s looking from the outside. You must know the ins and outs of the actual business.
I would like to think of an idea that would change everyone’s everyday living. Elon Musk created Tesla to manufacture electric cars, and pretty soon he’s going to be going to Mars. That’s something that is changing people’s lives. Trucking is pretty good at helping people, but whatever idea I came up with would be even more about changing people’s lives since that is what motivates me.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just got my mother a beautiful necklace. It’s something that she’s wanted for a long time and she’s really in love with it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There’s a TMS (Transportation Management System) software called PCS Software that is extremely useful for the trucking industry. It has helped my dispatch team, helped us with safety issues, and the accounting for our taxes. It pretty much sums up everything I need in one piece of software. A friend recommended it and we tried it out and it worked pretty seamlessly. It’s a little expensive but definitely worth the price for what it does for us.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. It’s the book that helped change my life. I started thinking more deeply about the stock market and how it could help my finances for the future.
What is your favorite quote?
“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid.” –Albert Einstein
• Communication is key to having a good relationship with your employees.
• Prioritize the things necessary to grow your company.
• College may not be for everyone, but don’t be afraid of pushing yourself as an entrepreneur.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.