Unlimited Flights for Business Travellers?

Plus: What an EU-Urkraine union has to do with Canada, and cross-border business may be the silver bullet to survival—in this week's Export Wire for Canadian small business

Written by John Lorinc

Unlimited travel—really! All-you-can-eat buffets and all-inclusive resorts are familiar business models to most of us—possibly too familiar. Now, reports Forbes magazine (citing the New York Times), a California aviation entrepreneur is touting an all-you-can-fly model for business travellers willing to use smaller planes on heavily trafficked corridors. Canadian entrepreneurs who regularly endure short but busy flyways elsewhere in the U.S. should watch to see if this trend catches on.

” €˜Surf Air,’ reported the Times, €˜started up last month flying between smaller airports in California tapping into those who do business between Hollywood and Silicon Valley and would prefer to do so without the hassles of major airports,’ says Billy Witz in his New York Times article. Surf Air is bringing what its founder calls the all-you-can-eat-style pricing plan—pay a membership ($500), a monthly fee ($1,650) and fly as often as you like on six-seat, single-engine turboprops.”

More trade with Eastern Europe? Approximately 1.3 million Canadians can claim Ukrainian ancestry, and those cultural connections could lead to stronger trading relationships with Ukraine as well as new markets for Canadian entrepreneurs. Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, former president of a Winnipeg consulting firm that specializes in relations between the two countries, recommends that the federal government press the Ukrainian government to join the European Union instead of forging a trade pact with Russia. As she wrote in The Winnipeg Free Press last week,

“There is much is to be gained from more European integration. It will move Ukraine to the rule of law, good governance, social wellbeing, western standards, freer movements, better quality of life and a much brighter future than the Russian alternative Ukraine experienced under Soviet rule€¦Other democracies, including Canada with some 1.3 million citizens of Ukrainian descent, will step up their own bilateral free trade negotiations.”

Can exporting be the key to success? Citing U.K. government research, the The Telegraph’s Rachel Bridge reports that small- and mid-sized entrepreneurs that export are 11% more likely to survive than SMEs that don’t have cross-border operations. Of course, exporting just for its own sake is no guarantee of long-term business success. Bridge offers eight smart pieces of advice—much of it applicable to Canadian entrepreneurs—for firms looking to build an international presence. At the top of the list: Don’t spread yourself too thin. And this important insight:

“Make sure your core business is robust enough to withstand the distractions of exporting. Starting to sell overseas can be time-consuming so put the right management in place to ensure the existing business is not neglected.”

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