Mark Pracy was the first Warbird adventure operator based in the Hunter Valley, providing thousands of dream flights for many Top Gun passengers. He has performed for international superstars such as Eric Clapton, Alicia Keys, John Cougar, Cheryl Crow and many more.
He then transitioned his passion for adventure into starting his own business as the owner of Jet Ride Australia, which is now Australia’s #1 jet fighter operation. We interviewed Mark to find out what key business fundamentals have helped him attain success within his industry.
You have been able to successfully build the brand of being Australia’s #1 jet ride experience, why is that?
Whatever you promise you need to do. Besides providing the service you promise, you need to provide the atmosphere for your demographic. The aviation industry is regarded as a serious industry but we had to break it down to a human level to help our clients enjoy the experience.
Do you think entrepreneurs/business owners need to stick to their strengths and interests when starting a business?
What ever you pursue you need to have a great understanding of the fundamentals. You don’t necessarily need to have the experience, but you do need to do your homework. Before starting my own business I worked for several adventure operators, I studied what was working and what was not working and moulded it into what is now Australia’s largest jet ride company.
How do you face challenges and adversity in business?
The best way to do this is to research the market and find out where the challenge actually exists and how it came about so that as a company we can learn, grow and face bigger challenges.
In your eyes, what would you say is the most important factor of any business?
Having the right marketing strategy; marketing to people who want your product or service. Not only do you want to know who to market to but most importantly why. For instance in our business you want to know who is buying the flights and who is actually riding. These are two different types of people.
What do you think customers look for when buying a particular product or service?
It all depends on the product/service you are offering and most of it does come back to the essence of what your brand represents. For us customers look for experience, adventure and credibility. From the phone calls that we were getting we were able to identify what our clients wanted most and supplied them with that.
What is your interpretation of customer service?
Customer service is all about being dynamic with your clients and being able to relate to them. Look and be professional by relating to the clients personality type. If a client is more relaxed then you need to be more relaxed.
There has been a lot of talk lately about how marketing has shifted to online. How have social media and the internet changed the way businesses operate?
For us paid advertising is minimal and targeted because it doesn’t have the [same] impact as online; these days everyone is online and as a company you need to market in a space where your customers search.
When hiring staff, what are the key attributes you look for?
When hiring staff we look at several things, we look at their history, ability to relate to customers and most importantly their views as to what we are looking to achieve as an organisation.
If you could offer one piece of advice to any individual who is looking to start their own business what would that be?
Do your homework and be involved in knowing as much of the business without being in control of it and allowing others to support you in operating the business.
Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd. A Business and Sales Advisory firm partnering with Australia’s largest and fastest growing companies to further increase their revenue. Visit www.ridcadvisory.com.au for more details.