Mobile businesses are a fundamental part of our economy, and something thousands of people are involved with. Yet, there’s precious little advice out there for people who run their own mobile businesses. Everybody from travelling consultants to burger vans can be considered a mobile business. And the challenges are unique. For instance, where should you set up your business? How do you make an impact? Here are some words of wisdom to help you get started.
Where Should Mobile Businesses Locate?
The key to mobile business success is location. Mobile businesses need to gravitate to areas where they have the most visibility. Fashion pop-ups, for instance, must often locate next to high footfall areas. But they also need to make sure that they are in a place visited by their target audience. Just because a zone has high footfall, doesn’t mean that that area is necessarily going to lead to business.
Mobile kitchens don’t necessarily need high footfall (unless you’re at an event). Instead, they rely on high visibility to attract passing trade, usually on the road. Non-retail mobile businesses can often get away with being less prominent. People like consultants, or yoga instructors, might want to opt for less competitive units first. This will help to keep prices down.
How Do You Build Your Brand?
Building a brand for a business that’s always on the go can be challenging. To build a brand, you need constant exposure in an area. But if you’re always on the move, that can be painfully difficult.
The trick here, according to Nanette Rigg, founder of City Showcase, is customer service. If your business is passionate about what it does, it’ll build a brand by itself. A high-quality service, great people and a super product will make the business grow by word of mouth.
Pop-ups also try to create engaging experiences for their customers. This is often done through unique social media campaigns that create a lot of buzz and many shares online.
How Should You Prepare For Always Being On The Move?
Businesses that are always on the move need to make some unique adaptations that fixed businesses don’t. Perhaps the most important is the ability to take payment on the go. Usually, that means investing in a mobile card reader. Some card readers can now be incorporated into mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. Tablets can then be doubled up to act as the till console as well as a method to take payment.
Mobile businesses also need to think carefully about how they will source their goods while they are on the move. They’ve got two options. Either they can get their suppliers to deliver to each new site they go to. Or they can be supplied to a depot or warehouse near to where they are based. Choosing a permanent site is probably the most sensible option since this is more predictable for suppliers. It’s also potentially far easier to access if you need to load and unload a van. For non-retail travelling businesses, it’s important to locate close to a central meeting location. This is a place that you can take your clients if they ever want a formal meeting with you at your offices.