Article
TheLorry — On a Mission to Drive Regional Success
6 Mar 2019
3 Min Read

Imagine this: You just thought of an incredible solution to a real-world challenge that you think could make a great business. Many entrepreneurs would rush to invest capital in the idea, launch it and wait for revenue to flow in.

According to Nadhir Ashafiq, Executive Director and co-founder of TheLorry, that may not be the best thing to do.

If you have not heard about TheLorry before now, it is Malaysia’s biggest on-demand cargo transportation platform. That means if you want to move goods — business or household items — you go to TheLorry app or website and order a lorry or truck to pick up the items. In minutes, conveniently, easily and quickly.


Get your business idea out. But ...


Nadhir admits that he and his co-founder made the same mistake (not testing their idea first) when they started TheLorry in 2014. But they quickly learned from it. “You have to validate your idea closely and intensely before even considering putting resources — time and money — into it,” he advises.


Rather than first spend RM100,000 or more on an idea and then find customers after, he recommends spending the minimum amount that you can to create the “smallest, simplest version of your product.” That way, you understand how customers will react to your product or service, and if you need to make changes before you fully commit more resources to the idea.


More than just revenue


And Nadhir should know. Apart from the fact that he was named (along with his co-founder Goh Chee Hau) in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2017, TheLorry currently has more than 7,000 partners/drivers in four countries — Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. However, Nadhir does not consider this a success, yet.


“As an entrepreneur, you always want higher and higher numbers on a monthly basis. So, in terms of pure numbers I would not say that we are successful,” he notes. “However, in terms of our impact on the industry, both on the consumer and partner sides, I think that we have certainly made an impression.”


Across the countries that TheLorry operates in, it has more than a revenue agenda. Its goal is to improve the lives of its partners — the lorry/truck drivers. Nadhir explains that while the company has its financial targets, “the social mission of uplifting truck drivers is also ingrained in our DNA.”

He reveals that many of TheLorry’s partners have advanced from owning a single truck to managing a fleet of vehicles. “In this aspect, I’m very proud to say that we are impacting the society and the community of lorry drivers in Malaysia and the other countries where we operate as well.”

It’s all about the people


The-Lorry-3.jpg

 

This means a focus on both your customers outside and your employees inside. This, admits Nadhir, was another challenge that they had to quickly learn to overcome. “Early on, I made so many mistakes in hiring, like being too hasty and hiring the wrong people for particular roles,” he shares.


As the company grew, they received guidance from mentors and peer-entrepreneurs who had experienced and overcome similar growing pains. Nadhir, however, notes that “Over time, we have created a lot of operational excellence frameworks, blueprints and playbooks to guide the behaviour of team members.”


This is important. Especially for a company that already helps some of the world’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), beverage and furniture providers distribute their goods around South East Asia, TheLorry will be needing a bigger team as the company grows.


Nadhir believes that having the right processes and structures in place now will be valuable in the future. “Right now we are close to 80 people, but as we cross 100 or 150, I foresee the value of having proper processes and systems. We have to start building those processes now.”


This article is part of SME Community’s success story chat with TheLorry Executive Director and co-founder, Nadhir Ashafiq. Stay tuned for a podcast of the exclusive interview, coming soon only on SME Community.

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Why is it important at first to create the smallest, simplest version of your product?
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Uh oh, that’s not quite right…
That way, you’ll understand how customers will react to your product or service.
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