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Can you make your business fly in a market where even the competitors have flown?
It’s not a familiar predicament. Most businesses are fighting competitors for a bigger share of the market. But what do you do when the market is so tough that the com-petitors have disappeared?
In 1933 there were 33 light aircraft manufacturers in the UK. One factory alone employed 3000 staff. Today, The Light Aircraft Company Limited is the last company standing.
Norfolk Chambers Member Paul Hendry-Smith sees the glass as definitely more than half full though. Yes, he admits that there are some pressures on the market, but what he sees for his business, The Light Aircraft Company Ltd, is huge potential.
So why has this market proved so difficult?
For a start, the demands made by current regulations, let alone future changes from, among others, the Civil Aviation Authority, have been too much for some companies to bear from an administration standpoint, and an excessive cost burden for others.
Paul says that The Light Aircraft Company Ltd are addressing the demands ‘with a lot of hard work, innovation in design, changes of airframes for better handling, nurturing staff which at the end of the day are the life blood of the company, and producing a quality product which is recognised throughout the UK, Europe and in many other parts of the world’. And if that’s not enough they’ve expanded with two new designs.
Looked at objectively the idea of a market so ferocious it’s removed the competition is downright alarming. But, in the global picture, aviation is developing and survival and success will come for those who see the challenges as opportunities.
So, with the dramatic changes afoot in the EU and UK regarding aviation, what are the challenges facing The Light aircraft Company Ltd? ‘We have 2 new designs that we have to upgrade, we need to ensure our raw material and assembly costs under control through careful purchasing and man management. We make every effort and even pay a premium for UK produced raw materials. We must protect our manufacturing industries come what may.
The key for us now and in the future is twofold, to get more of our aircraft out into the flight training school arena, because people buy aircraft that they train in; and we need to find the right dealers for our aircraft in other countries. That's the biggest challenge. When we are looking for the right people and companies to partner with we need to get along with them well, they need to have the passion for aviation, they need to “get” what our aircraft are about, they have to understand their market in their country. The list is endless and the nights sleepless at times’ says Paul.
Identifying the objectives is essential. It’s about focus. And with this level of focus, yes, you can make your business fly in a market where even the competitors have flown!
We’d love to hear your views on the issues facing business today. If you want your thoughts expressed in this news column let us know.
This article can also be found in Wednesday's 2 October, 2019 EDP News.