Lidia Yan - Co-founder and CEO of Next Trucking

I would tell myself to work for a cause and not for applause. Also, I think it’s important to seek respect rather than attention because respect will last longer.

Lidia is a co-founder and serves as CEO of Next Trucking, where she oversees the company’s vision and growth strategies. Prior to founding Next Trucking, Lidia served as a marketing manager and management officer at Newegg, a prominent online retailer of computer hardware and software, where she led marketing efforts on the company’s mobile site and apps. Lidia planned and executed ongoing mobile marketing initiatives for Newegg to support new product launches, sales promotions and consumer promotions. Prior to her position at Newegg, Lidia was the founder and served as CEO of Shanghai-based, 9luxe.com, a leading fashion platform that distributes 40 American and European brands throughout China.

Where did the idea for Next Trucking come from?

My family has been in the logistics business for 14 years and runs one of the largest TV distribution centers in Southern California. Business is steadily increasing with more loads for us to deliver. It’s extremely difficult to find qualified truckers, which is the industry’s number one problem. Typically, there are two main reasons truckers leave their job: low pay and forced dispatching. To begin, truckers find loads by relying heavily on brokers who normally charge 25 to 30 percent commission for passing information between shippers and truckers. Additionally, truckers have their own route preferences which often differ from those assigned through forced dispatching. Many drivers, however, cannot deny these jobs due to the lack of information available for them to find posted tenders on their preferred routes in real time.

The entire dispatching process as it presently stands is extremely inefficient. Truckers usually spend hours negotiating back and forth with brokers for routes and rates. Therefore, we wanted to create a solution to help the truckers by making the market more transparent. We created Next Trucking, a trucker-centric marketplace, to enable our truckers to decide where they want to go and how much they want to make to give them more control over their time.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The first thing I do after I wake up is check my email. I go to the gym and eat a healthy breakfast before work. I usually compose a to-do list detailing the tasks I need to accomplish for the day, so I can be organized and productive. My co-founder Elton Chung and I split duties where I focus on product development and marketing initiatives and he runs the operations and sales department.

As a team, we have a quick meeting with department heads in the morning to communicate initiatives we have accomplished, current projects and any additional issues that need our attention. We don’t encourage long meetings at Next Trucking, as we feel it can hinder productivity. We try to only have meetings when necessary and keep them under 30 minutes.

How do you bring ideas to life?

For product-related ideas we start by surveying the target market for feedback on the concept. If the majority of the sample surveyed likes the idea, we will work on an initial test phase. To further test the waters, we launch the beta version with a select group of users with whom we have a close relationship. Once the concept is proven, we begin working on a final product that we constantly update according to the feedback we receive from our users.

In terms of marketing ideas, we utilize a similar tactic. We launch marketing initiatives on a small scale and measure the performance and ROI. If the return for the idea is favorable, we invest into the campaign. As we are an early-stage company, speed is our core key performance indicator (KPI).

What’s one trend that really excites you?

We are really excited to see the antiquated trucking industry begin to accept innovative technologies.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I use Evernote to take notes and stay organized. I check my notes often and never leave something for tomorrow that I can finish today.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to work for a cause and not for applause. Also, I think it’s important to seek respect rather than attention because respect will last longer.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Most people in the industry believe that autonomous trucks will be a threat to our marketplace. While I believe the age of autonomous vehicles will eventually arrive, someone will still have to move the loads and most likely it will be a carrier that we work with.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Make friends in your industry and learn from the best! I can’t tell you how important it is to assemble an entrepreneurial team who all bring their individual strengths.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

The most important strategy for business growth is to listen to your customers and shape your product based on their feedback. We have always strived to be in tune with our customers and focus on creating features that improve their interactions with the platform.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I failed a couple of times as an entrepreneur of a clothing brand that had flash sales on its website. This helped me to realize I needed to refocus my entrepreneurial spirit on another industry that I was more passionate about. Next Trucking was a natural transition for me as I had full knowledge of the industry, the experience necessary and incredible connections to make my idea a success. Relationships are key when building a startup for forming valuable partnerships that can expand your business.

As human beings, we make mistakes and then we fix them. Failure doesn’t mean the game is over, it simply means we must try again with a different approach. What defines us is how well we rise after falling

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think a great idea would be warehouse automation.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

We recently spent $100 on a nice boxing championship belt that serves as our “fighter of the month” trophy. Our employees love it and it has really increased company morale. It is very important to us to show our employees that hard work and dedication do not go unrecognized and that we appreciate their drive.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Trello is an extremely useful tool for project management. Our team also uses Slack for internal communication.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Zero to One by Peter Thiel is a rational and practical book that offers great insight and advice for first-time entrepreneurs.

What is your favorite quote?

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Connect:

https://www.nexttrucking.com/
Next Trucking on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nexttrucking/
Next Trucking on Twitter: @nexttrucking
Next Trucking on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/next-trucking