Four Simple Principles Navigating Horizon Air
March 27, 2012 by Jean Brown
Glenn Johnson, President of Horizon Air, was the keynote speaker at the New Vision annual meeting last week. Johnson talked about Horizon’s transformation and provided some valuable business advice that is relevant across the board. In addition to providing insight on the airline industry, and discussing strategic changes that Horizon has made over the past two years to adapt to challenges facing the entire industry (and smaller markets, like Yakima), he enlightened the audience with four simple principles that guide Horizon Airlines.
1. Don’t buy things you can’t afford;
This seems like such a simple statement but look at how many companies (and people) get into hot water because they overextend their credit or get in over their heads. Many an entrepreneur has planned on not taking a salary until they get the business up and profitable…a great concept, but unless money is not an issue, you somehow have to be able to live and pay bills.
2. Don’t borrow money you can’t pay back;
Same simple idea as the first one, but also important to remember. Some entrepreneurs are so desperate to get their businesses up and running they run into challenges, whether revenue is slow to take off, payments come in late, customers don’t pay or they have to purchase inventory to start selling and making money. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had people calling because they need a loan to start their business. This is one reason we strongly encourage entrepreneurs to do a business plan, or at least if not a full plan, figure out how much start-up capital they will need, and prepare a month to month cash flow projection for at least two years.
3. Don’t do deals you don’t understand; and
Whether it’s setting up a business structure, borrowing money from a family member or leasing a building, make sure you clearly understand what you are getting into. If your great aunt offers to loan you some money and says pay it back when you can, she might mean, when you can…starting next month or with 20% interest. It is also important to conduct your due diligence when it comes to business structure, building improvements and equipment leases. If you are not sure of what something means or how things work, it is wise to contact a business advisor, your accountant or attorney. A fee up front can save you in the long run.
4. If it doesn’t seem right…it probably isn’t.
Likewise, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
We appreciate Mr. Johnson’s insight into how Horizon has stayed true to its guiding principles and taken advantage of opportunities as they have risen.