Big Dreams for Small Businesses
I spend my days speaking with FBO managers from around the country. These organizations range from mom and pop FBO’s where the business has been passed down for generations, to multi-state enterprises with FBO’s rooted in many of the major international airports.
I’ve noticed that when speaking with these larger enterprises, the explanation of what our platform offers begins with me- but often ends with their customer service representative (CSR) at headquarters speaking in length about what their private IT company has done for them lately, or, how they are committed to some years-long binding contract they are unhappy with.
Now, while I do love these calls, there is a true sense of corporate drive to them. I must be swift in my delivery, articulate, and inform the FBO how our platform can help over a system they have likely been settled with for decades. Sometimes it even feels as though their CSR is trying to sell me on the platform they use themselves! Albeit I may just be a poor salesman, but that’s a topic for later.
With mom and pop FBO’s I have the same intention, to inform them of the wonderful platform that we are building and to see how we can further develop to meet their needs. The main difference here is that these calls tend to be much more conversational and relaxed, almost like we were old friends catching up during a summer BBQ when they ask, “So, what are you doing for work lately?”
In that setting, conversation would go something like this, “Well, I'm with a company that builds FBO management software aimed to streamline work order entry, reduce cost, and increase accountability. Wait, doesn’t your family run the FBO down at the regional airport?” They’d nod with a laugh, “Yeah, my father passed it down to me, but we are just a small operation. I mean it’s just me, a few local teens on the line crew, and my wife who does the book keeping and handles our customers. I mean, we still use paper slips and a pin board in our office, I think new software is a bit much for us.”
More often than not, I find that family run FBO’s don’t give themselves the credit they deserve. They operate with the same tools that the generations before them have simple because, “its not broken, so I shouldn’t fix it.” Still, they offer some of the highest quality service in the industry with half the tools available to the bigger guys.
It’s true, smaller FBO’s work with incredibly thin profit margins, leading to limitations in the number of employees they can take on, technological upgrades, and their general ability to optimize the organizations effectiveness. But FBO’s can utilize new tools that are available that will not break the bank, so to speak, and will offer greater opportunities to increase their efficiencies and ultimately their revenue.
I always sigh when an FBO manager tells me that they are too small, not because I think I wasted my time on the call, but because I realize that this sort of mentality is limiting their business in an innumerable amount of ways. Worse still, the limitations they place on themselves can reduce their cash flow significantly, and keep them from the increased quality of life they deserve, especially in what is often small town America.
My point is that even mom and pop FBO’s should run their business with a corporate mentality, while maintaining the grass-roots personality that their community respects. Utilizing a tool such as VoyagerFBO, which may cost just as much as their home electricity bill, can help even a smaller FBO run their business with the same confidence and organization as the large enterprises.
Not only will this reduce the stress of the normal workload on an already spread-thin employee list, but would increase the efficiency of the workforce, help maintain better client records, and increase profit margins.
Together, these benefits would give mom and pop organizations the freedom to spend more time with their families, and the overhead to afford it while offering their clients an even higher level of service.