Thursday, May 8, 2008

Flight and the compression of time

You may think that I'm about to delve into quantum physics, but no, this is more about using an airplane to make more efficient use of your time. First let me get one worry and concern out of the way. Many business managers and owners think that aviation is so expensive that it's only for the ultra large companies to use. That's a fallacy and I'm writing this post to dispel that myth.

Just think for a moment about how much more Superman gets done because he can fly at supersonic speeds. If you can reach more clients, or establish and manage more business locations and still be home for dinner, it makes a lot more sense. I spent a day with a construction supervisor who was manager over several projects (the project managers reported directly to him) in northern and central California. We drove to every one of his job sites from Yuba City to Los Banos. Imagine if this development company had the foresight to put a dirt strip next to each development and the supervisor was able to fly to each location. He would be able to visit his sites more often, get more done in between trips, spend more time at each site to teach, train, and resolve problems. Fuel would have cost less per mile, and overall he would have been more productive if he flew instead of driving.

In a previous post I've already discussed how you can use aviation to grow your business by citing several real life examples. Here's a hypothetical one for you that may resonate with many of you. Let's say you have a coffee stand in one town that's doing really well because you've got your system down pat. The town has room for three more coffee stands so you expand into those locations. Now what? Your business can only grow to a certain level in one town and in order to continue to grow you have to expand into other towns. So you decide to rent an airplane and scout out locations in a town 25 miles away. From the air you can see quite a bit about the town's demographics and you can see what the morning traffic patterns are since that's when you sell most of your coffee. You pick out an ideal spot and establish your coffee stand there and now you're back on the growth track. You correctly calculate that the cost of renting an airplane to fly there twice a week are easily covered by a single morning's net profits at your new location.

A small plane works fine as long as you are expanding into small towns in a 250 mile radius from your home site, but eventually you'll want to expand into other states, and now you need a bigger, faster airplane. Eventually you go national and you find that your 250 plus locations can easily pay for the acquisition and operational costs of a new Lear Jet. It's all about economies of scale. Now take that hypothetical example and apply it to whatever business you want. An advertising agency, a music school, a landscaping business and so on and so forth. Flying makes expansion make more sense than driving does. In the end you'll find that flying is not as expensive as you thought--especially when you weigh it against the additional revenues it can bring in.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Airport security, what a waste!

I long for the good old days when I would travel out of town and my entire family could come to the airline gate with me to see me off. I can't even begin to tell you how it warmed my heart to step off the airplane and into the airport to see my wife and children waiting for me. My kids would run up to me yelling, "Daddy, Daddy!!!" and my wife would come up and give me a kiss. What a wonderful way to end a trip.

Now we have to arrive TWO hours before our flight in order to get our bags checked and us cleared through security in time to catch our flight. The one time I forgot my driver's license, I got the full terrorist treatment. Security unpacked every one of my bags, swabbed the contents, frisked me and then left me to repack my bags. I hated packing my bags the first time. Having to do it at the airport in front of the TSI folks was about as fun as the last root canal I received.

I've donated more toothpaste, shampoo, hairspray, deodorant and bottled water to homeless shelters (that's where they told me TSI donates the confiscated toiletries) than I can count. And really, is it necessary to take my bottled water away from me. Just ask me to take a swig of the water to make sure it's safe.

Just imagine what it would be like to drive 20 minutes to a local airport, get into an airplane waiting for you at the FBO, fly to your destination without having to go through security or wait at the gate and battle for your seat and be back home in time for dinner. Flying commercially just isn't worth it anymore.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Use aviation to grow your business

Whatever kind of business you have, whether you be an art broker, a computer consultant, or the owner of a small ad agency, airplanes are one of the most effective tools you have at your disposal to grow your business.

Can you imagine trying to run your business without a computer? A short thirty years ago most businesses used a paper ledger to track income, expenses, profit and liabilities. Computers are a tool that are well understood to help make you competitive in the marketplace.

And the marketplace is very competitive and getting more so. How do you get the edge on your competition? For Sam Walton, his Cessna 152 was an invaluable tool to scout out new Wal-Mart (or whatever he called his store back then) locations around Arkansas and then in neighboring states. Today, his company is global. The airport Wal-Mart dignitaries fly in and out of in Rodgers, Arkansas is now considered an international airport all because of Sam Walton's use of aviation to grow the company.

Years ago when Jay Call bought his first service station, it was only because he needed a way to support his flying habit. He loved to fly, and he parlayed that ability into the tool that helped him find and act on other deals in other areas around the United States. Today Flying J service stations and truck stops are some of the best run and well known travel stops around.

Many business people feel that flying an aircraft around is quite expensive and marketing people scoff at the very idea that something other than the standard marketing tools taught in business school could possibly be viable to growing a business. While it's true that it's not practical to start with a Gulfstream III from the start, using a smaller aircraft to grow within a 250 mile radius and then graduating to larger and faster aircraft as you expand that radius will help your growing income match your growing expenses.

Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about:

Jeff Marsden owns a local computer repair shop that has built a reputation around a well trained, knowledgeable force of tech support professionals who follow Jeff's company mission statement to offer the highest quality of service that they can. A year and a half ago he had two different customers relocate to two separate towns that were too far to service as often as he had done previously. Neither of those customers could find a computer support and repair shop anywhere near as good as Jeff's and so each one offered to pay for Jeff or his tech's travel time round trip at Jeff's usual billable rate. One had him come out every two weeks, and the other just once a month. I met Jeff after he had been doing this for about six months. Since each town was about a two hour drive, he would bill $300 just for his round trip travel time and $.47 per mile for his gas. Since they were paying for four hours of travel time anyway, after Jeff and I talked, he discovered that if he were to get his pilot's license he could rent a Cessna 172 for $100 per flight hour wet (I know it's gone up since that time because of fuel prices), and pocket the difference between what his clients were paying for his travel and the cost for his plane rental.

Within 3 months Jeff had his pilots license and figured as long as he was in town he might as well pay a courtesy call on some other businesses in the area. He found there was sufficient interest in his services, so he paid the moving expenses for one of his trusted techs and hired another one locally to replace him. He did this same thing in the other town as well. Within six months he has already doubled the net income of the business compared to his previous year. He flies to those towns and three others that are on his way on a regular basis to make sure things continue to run smoothly. He now plans to train and send out eight more techs to outlying towns within the next year.

You wouldn't run a business without using a computer, you shouldn't consider running it without an airplane either.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

2008 Diamond TwinStar DA-42 for sale $612,000

Well, this is just as good a time as any to kick off my blog. I have two beautiful Diamond TwinStar DA-42s for sale. One is a brand spankin' new with zero hours on it and fully loaded with all the extras. It's still sitting at the factory waiting for delivery. If you buy it before April 1st, you can qualify for free factory introductory training. This plane is ready for immediate delivery. Oh, and did I mention--it's got the full de-icing package as well. Here's a list of the features on this plane:

Lightning Protection System
First Aid Kit
Fire Extinguisher
Failsafe Airframe Design
Overhead Cabin Light
Hydraulic Retractable Landing Gear
Heated Pitot/Static Tube
Alternate Static Port
High-gloss Multi Layer Paint
Standard Design
Registration Markings
Electric Operated Flap System
Landing and Taxi Lights
Position and Anti-collision Lights
Nose Baggage Compartment Accessible from Both Sides
4-way Baggage Compartment System
Pitot Cover
Rudder Lock
Tow Bar
Tool Kit

It also has two Thielert Centurion 2.0 engines. Those of you familiar with this engine know it is top quality.

GDU 1040 Primary Flight Display
GDU 1040 Multi-function Display
Garmin Integrated VFR Terrain Awareness Systems
Remote Avionics Equipment Mounting Rack with Line Replaceable Units
GDC74 Integrated Digital Air Data Computer
GRS77 Attitude & Heading Reference System
Dual GIA63 Integrated VHF COM/NAV/ILS/GPS Radio Modules
GEA71 Airframe/Engine Interface Unit
GMA1347 Digital Audio Controller with Digital ATC Playback Recording
GMU44 Magnetometer
GTX33 Integrated "Mode S" Transponder with Traffic Information System
G1000 INterface for Honeywell KAP 140 2-axis Autopilot
Honeywell KAP140 Autopilot with Altitude Hold and Preselect
Standby Instruments (compass, horizon, airspeed)
Instrument Lighting
Integrally-lit, laser-etched polycarbonate switch panel overlay

TKS Deicing System
Artex 406 MHZ ELT
GDL69A Satellite Data Link
Extended range fuel tank (79 US gal)

DA42 A - Chameleon with Silver Accent
Standard Leather Interior - Grey

So you can see that this airplane has just about all the bells and whistles you could want on a plane. The second airplane I'm selling is exactly the same except that it has 65 hours on it, 1.8 diesel engines and the exterior colors are dark charcoal with red trim on white. The price on this one is $569,000. Both these planes are priced to sell so call me as soon as possible at 801-805-2525 and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Well, this blog isn't just about telling you about airplanes I've got for sale, so stay tuned for information about how you can use aviation to help promote and grow your business.