Pet Airways

Fido Travels First Class

Better and different has been an ongoing theme for TrueNorth. Pet Airways (PA) is a prime candidate for different.

The Washington Post had a recent story on (PA). *

The pet market is huge. Petsmart being the main big box store….and pet food alone takes up an isle in most supermarkets.

Traveling with pets is inconsistent on the airlines….besides airlines are people movers first….unless a pet carrier fits under a seat….pets fly in the cargo compartment.

Pet Airways is a nice alternative to pet travels….and an unique concept that has become a viable business.

If a business knows its market and customers (both people and pets)….it can be the only ones doing what it does.

* Story in The Washington Post:

It’s All in the Details

Check Everything

Last night we headed out to a restaurant….nothing elaborate….yet a 20 minute drive. We arrived and it was closed. The closing time on the front door had been modified from an 8 to a 3. The web site indicated they were open until 8 pm.

No big deal for the resatuarnt….and no big deal for us….or is it?

Every encounter with a customer has to be…. at all possible….a positive experience for the business and customer. After thirty years….I remember clearly a less than positive experience with a customer…. due in my part not paying attention to the details.

It’s very simple and yet enterprises fail at the details.

Check Everything – Do it Right! 

Marketing Power

Great Website: A Necessity

There are few businesses/organizations that don’t need a marketing strategy. For our family business….it was to be a different and better retailer in mid-price home furnishings. We carried out the startegy….primarily through newspaper….radio and tv advertising. We were always developing our brand (and name).

Today….for the vast majority of businesses….the Internet website has to be one of the main ways to carry out a marketing strategy.

Here is a site:

that does a great job of marketing its product…..historical tours of World War 2 locations in Europe. has:

  • Opening audio file
  • Period images
  • Descriptive itineraries
  • People of the period that are part of the tour
  • Company contacts with photos
  • Relevant links
  • Photos of historical sites

Ten years ago, a well illustrated four-color brochure on coated paper would have been a strong marketing tool….today it’s a creatively designed….easy to navigate….content rich website that is the standard.

I haven’t found any reviews of the company….yet their Internet presence is very well done.

It Pops

Maple Baseball Bats

Baseball fans know the Louisville Slugger. Now there is another baseball bat with a winning combination of a good product….excellent reputation….and attention to detail. The MaxBat.

Jim Anderson began making bats in a small town in Minnesota…first out of ash than maple. Bats are traditionally made of ash….maple is denser and more expensive.

Eventually Anderson teamed up with Glacial Wood Products and began marketing the bats. While MaxBat produces less expensive ash and birch bats….teams like the “pop out” of MaxBat….the way the ball comes off the bat.

Lessons learned from the MaxBat story:

  • Started with an idea and executed it
  • Produced an unique product
  • Developed customers
  • Created an Internet marketing strategy
  • Teamed with a good business partner

For the complete story:


Undercover Boss – Season 2

Frontier Airlines

Sundays episode featured Bryan Bedford, CEO of Frontier Airlines. Frontier is the overall brand of Frontier, Midwest Airlines and Republic Airlines. Midwest at one time being an excellent airline to fly.

The Undercover Boss (UB) series has become very predictable….featuring employees that are good employees and yet have a personal issue that they confront. At the end of the show, the CEO reveals who he is and offers, often monetary solutions, to each of the featured employees.

From a business aspect here are key points:

  • Customer service creates loyalty
  • Frontier is developing a “brand promise”
  • Being better and different….differientiates Frontier
  • Best management is MBWA (management by walking around)

Further thoughts:

  • What is the impact of UB….6 months….12 months from now?
  • Why don’t the other high level people do the same thing?
  • Can Frontier position itself as a viable airline?


The Return of the Milkman

Real Customer Service

A recent newspaper article told the story of the return of home milk delivery.

Growing up in Western Michigan in the late 40’s….early 50’s was still a time when business depended on servicing the customer. No super Wal-Marts then.

Our milk was delivered to a box near the front door. Some who didn’t have a refrigerator….the ice wagon came by every few days to replenish the ice box. Of course before natural gas….the coal truck appeared in early fall.

King Brothers Dairy in upstate NY has begun home delivery of milk and numerous other products. All part of the effort to get fresh farm products quickly to the consumer.

And most importanly….genuine customer service from the local milkman.


Open Both Doors

It use to be….that a business opened its door and it was ready to do business. That’s not the case in today’s Internet influenced business world. For openers….perspective customers check out a businesses website to get the “lay of the land”.

What’s the business/organization like? What are the hours? Where’s it located? What are the offerings?

This mornings News & Observer had a review of a new upscale restaurant….with the website address. Yet when visiting the site….nothing (site coming soon). Another new restaurant opened in Cary….nothing on their website either.

Restaurants require large investments….it’s shortsighted to open one door and not the other (website).

In today’s market….buying decisons are often based on visiting the website first.