New business has me nervous

Discussion in 'Starting a Business' started by bravo2aviation, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. bravo2aviation

    bravo2aviation
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    Hello, as a first time business owner, I am WAY under-educated. I opened an aircraft repair shop at the largest airport in my area. Had the city/airport commission pulling for me 100%. There was a shop there several years ago, and he stayed unbelievably busy. My operating costs are not that bad: insurance, rent, utilities, etc. My problem is that with all the building up, and general buzz about finally scoring another full time facility, I've seen almost nothing. And I mean NOTHING! I've been open 3 months, my phone has rang 4 times, and I've grossed $600. I can't afford the advertisements that I need in the commercial pubs, so I made my own, and have traveled a 400 mile radius, to no avail. I started wondering in the beginning if this might be the case, so my father bought a wrecked airplane for me to rebuild and sell, and that's all working out, but I need to draw the business in!!! Everyone's so glad to have me, but apparently not glad enough to let me have their business. I have an excellent reputation, and am good at what I do, so I'm stumped. Fuel costs can't be the only reason. What am I overlooking? Any I deas? Thanks, bravo
     
  2. Zantetsken

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    I don't know anything about aircrafts, but maybe they don't need repairs? Or maybe they just aren't entirely aware of your repair shop?

    I don't know much about this, so I don't know what to say, but I hope things start looking better for you...
     
  3. Nazreen

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    First of all, let me welcome you to the Business Advice Forum bravo.

    Now, regarding your problem.. I think that what's missing in your business is marketing and advertising. Even though your product or service is the best but no one knows about the existence of your business, then you won't get any customers. If you cannot afford commercial advertisements, why not try advertising in free magazines and even local radio stations?

    You've mentioned that you also have an excellent reputation so I would assume that you've worked for another company repairing aircrafts before. Hope that you still have your old customers contact numbers. You can also call them up and inform them of your new business. Don't be disappointed if they say that they prefer another company but just tell them that you're offering more competitive rates and services and also mention to keep your aircraft repair business in reserve, just in case they change their mind.
     
  4. DEADMAN

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    You said that you're way Under-Educated then that may be your first weakness. You may not be experienced with all the aircrafts issues and business. You work at the largest airport company and it takes time for anything no matter how high ranked it is. Things get to be settled down in a certain time when you also settle down with a perfect calm mind and start thinking to advertise about your services.
     
  5. Nazreen

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    I have to disagree with this statement. There are a lot of very successful people out there who doesn't even have a degree or diploma. Just take the example of billionaire J.R. Simplot who developed the first commercial frozen french fries for McDonald's. He dropped out of school at the age 14.
     
  6. ritajones56

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    That's true but under-educated could also mean more research needs to be done and more expertise needs to be gained about your specific area of business, which could be done by means other than formal education in a classroom.
     
  7. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Bravo.

    I 'm sorry to hear that you are not getting the business you had expected and hoped for.

    You might consider calling 2 or 3 of the contacts you know and trust best and ask them directly why they are not giving you the business. You find it difficult to ask, but knowing is better than not knowing and your survival in the business may well depend on understanding why customers are not currently using your services. Once you understand this you will have an opportunity to rectify the situation.

    Do you have a contact list of potential customers? Have you considered telephoning them and advising them of your services?

    Have you considered flyers and business cards? You might find that a more direct marketing approach could prove to be more successful than advertising.

    Good luck with turning the situation around and please reply back to let us know how you are getting on.
     
  8. BlueEew

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    I totally agree with this fellow member. You might have a good, or very good service to offer. However selling that service is now what you need to aim at.

    Imagine you had a website that sells a product. But you have never advertised it. No one even knows it exists.
     
  9. bravo2aviation

    bravo2aviation
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    Hi and thanks to all the replies. I have sent out letters to aircraft owners, and my longtime customers have committed, but with fuel being so high, they never fly, so the only maintenance they will get is the big annual inspection which is done once a year. That gives me 11 planes on the books, for a once a year inspection!! I have posted fliers in a LOT of airports, but I need to follow up and make sure they weren't taken down and thrown out as some will do. I am basically a paint job away from finished with the plane here so I will be able to do a lot of getting around in a short time. There has been mention here that I should host a "fly-in hamburger cooking" sounds like that may be a good way to meet folks, but I need to do more homework so I'm not having to eat 300 burgers all alone! Currently looking for online advertising ideas that will be affordable or even free. Only a small local paper here, takes 8 months to sell a lawnmower.
     
  10. Hurbel2k

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    Hang out in the pilot bar in the evening.
     
  11. Nazreen

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    As Hendrik has mentioned, hanging out in the pilot bar will also help you to meet new customers. You don't have to drink much but if the staff see you as a regular then they won't throw out your fliers. Most business start off slow during the first year or first two years. This is because the customers still don't know about your business and also, most people would normally go to old businesses that they are already comfortable with and patronize.

    Do you have lots of competition in the aircraft repair business Bravo? You might also want to consider offering something that your other competitions don't offer their customers.
     
  12. Fergal

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    How big is your potential market in terms of the number of decision maker contacts?
     
  13. bravo2aviation

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    According to the FAA registry, there are just shy of 200 airplanes registered to private owners within a 250 mile radius of my shop. As far as competition, there is a facility 60 miles north, 75 miles south, 75 miles west, and 150 miles east. I'm pretty much it in my area, and I did some undercover research to make sure my shop rate was just below the shops listed above. Hoping convenience will prevail. I like the pilot bar idea. Thanks
     
  14. Nazreen

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    I think the tip from this thread will also help.

    Most businesses starts slowly because customers don't know about your business yet. You mustn't get discouraged but try to focus on marketing and advertising your business first. How about your competition/s? Do you know how they advertise their services Bravo?
     
  15. Fergal

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    Can you get the name, address and telephone contact details of all these owners? If you can you might consider working your way through this list using a direct marketing approach, i.e. be telephoning them or mailing them to inform them of your services. This will also provide you with extremely useful market research info your target market's needs and requirements.

    You might consider taking the list in batches of ten. This will allow you to tweak and improve your approach as you go along. Don't be afraid of repetition. If they don't have a need when you call, make a quick reminder call a couple of months later. If you adopt a friendly non-pushy approach they shouldn't object to your quick call. If you make regular contact with your potential customers they will have you in mind the next time they have a need for your services.
     
  16. ritajones56

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    Make sure you have everything set with your business as far as making your product or service as good as it can be, and then go full force with your marketing efforts. It will take some time, but good things come to those who wait.
     
  17. bravo2aviation

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    Thanks, guys. I am focusing on making sure that I can handle any request, then upping the marketing. These aircraft are required to have a major inspection once per year, and a fraction of that year has come and gone, so my odds are getting better. Fuel costs are also beginning to drop slightly. Bravo
     
  18. Nazreen

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    Are the yearly major inspections being done in a specific month Bravo? If they are, you can up your marketing and advertising two to three months before the inspection.

    I don't want to be the bringer of bad news but the drop in the price of oil might just be a temporary one. Currently, there's trouble in the Middle East with Iran doing a missile test in response to a U.S. ultimatum to freeze expansion of it's nuclear work.
     
  19. Fergal

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    Thanks for the update Bravo, glad to hear that there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
     
  20. bravo2aviation

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    Hi, it's been a while, I've gotten busier! The yearly inspections are scattered throughout all 12 months, no specific order for those. I have been informed of a pending contract with a commuter airline that is about to setup shop at the airport here, also got a contract for "overflow" from a major university's flight department, which is great news, because these planes are flown under a different set of FAA regulations, and require an inspection every 100 hours of operation. There are 12 planes and the school averages about 600 hours per month, so I'm about to get crowded FINALLY! The airline will only house one plane on site, so mainly pre and post trip maintenance and pilot write-ups will be done, but should still be plenty. Starting to pick up a little here at home as well, got a large repair job in a month, and starting Monday on an annual inspection at a neighboring airport. I have really been beating the bushes and trying to get the chatter going, lots of road trips to get my name out. And I would like an opinion: I've been taking my 3 year old son with me to these airports. He's a HUGE airplane nut, and loves to talk to folks about theirs. My approach has been: "The more PB&J's I can get in this little guy, the quicker he'll grow into my number one technician" It seems to be working, and always leaves a smile on their faces. He is a cute little guy. Thanks for putting up with my rambling. Bravo
     

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