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Business Aviation & The Boardroom - Confronting A Difficult Economy

As government and industry search for ways to grow a sluggish economy- you should understand the advantages of Business Aviation and apply them to build market strength for your company- urges Jack Olcott.

Jack Olcott   |   1st October 2011
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Possibly the world’s most recognized advocate, if not expert on the value of Business Aviation,...
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Confronting A Difficult Economy
As government and industry search for ways to grow a sluggish economy- you should understand the advantages of Business Aviation and apply them to build market strength for your company- urges Jack Olcott.

With the US economy struggling to grow and with unemployment above 9.1 percent- the pressure on Directors to shape policies that maximizes shareholder returns is indeed great. Impending issues often create a difficult atmosphere in which good ideas are obscured by the fog of the present storm. Directors- however- are responsible for looking beyond the immediate and focusing on solutions that bring longer-term- sustainable gains.

You were elected to be a Member of your company Board because you are smart and you are knowledgeable in the firm’s market area. While possibly not an explicit qualification- you also were chosen because you have a sense of history as it applies to the pulse of business. You have seen tough times before- and you may have assisted with developing effective strategies for dealing with business adversity. Thus the following example of Board action during an earlier recession is interesting and instructive.

As described in Face to Face- one of the first publications of an advocacy program developed over a decade ago by the National Business Aviation Association- author David Almy related the actions of the second largest bank holding company in a southern state. Like today- the country was facing a serious recession and Directors were debating appropriate actions to address difficult times.

Both the largest bank holding company in the state and (the object of this story) the state’s second largest bank holding company operated company aircraft. Their Boards- however- chose different responses to tough times. The largest bank holding company elected to cut back on its use of the company aircraft. Its management felt that Business Aviation was an avoidable cost- and that cost-cutting was good.

The second largest bank holding company took the opposite track. Its governing body knew there was business to be earned throughout its region and the best approach—the approach that would be the most effective in battling the recession—was to use its aviation resources to reach that marketplace. It actively flew its aircraft to touch existing and potential customers- placing its most effective managers face-to-face with clients- old and new- that needed what the bank provided.

When the recession subsided- the state had a new largest bank holding company—the one that elected to use its aviation assets to gain market advantage.

The current “No Plane No Gain” advocacy program of NBAA documents contemporary examples of why using Business Aviation makes good business sense. In a recent issue of Business Aviation Insider- the association highlighted the reasons why Deere & Company- the US-based manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment- regards its use of business aircraft as essential for growing its business in today’s global marketplace.

Deere & Company- based in Moline- IL serves markets across the world from Africa to India and China. Its leaders recognize Business Aviation as one of the tools the company has employed for decades to achieve success. Today- however- the need to reach expanding opportunities in countries thousands of miles from heartland USA demands the efficient transportation that is uniquely the province of business aircraft.

Dave Everitt- president of Deere’s Agricultural and Turf Division- was quoted as a saying- “My territory is the world- and I couldn’t get my job done as efficiently if I didn’t have access to John Deere Aviation [the business unit within Deere & Company responsible for use of the company’s aircraft]. In Asia- for example- our business… is growing 25 to 45 percent a year.

“We are making numerous investments in Asia because that is where the future growth is. We have to be there and compete-” Everitt added. Business Aviation enables Deere & Company to have the right person at the right place at the right time. Noting that on a recent marketing effort Deere officials conducted business in three African countries and then proceeded to India and Singapore- returning to Moline seven days later- Everitt stated- “You just can’t do that [trip] and still be sane without Business Aviation.”

Today’s economic challenges require the use of tools that increase productivity. Business Aviation increased the productivity of a company’s two most important assets—people and time. The enlightened Board looks beyond the rhetoric of political posturing and the public’s frustration caused by an economy stalled in neutral. Directors understand that now is the time for action. Now is the time to place the company’s most effective personnel face-to-face with customers wherever they may be- domestically as well as globally. Now is the time for expanded use of Business Aviation.

Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get them answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to: Jack@avbuyer.com


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