Entrepreneurs have a penchant for action. For sizing up opportunity and seizing it.

Marketers would do well to adopt more of this philosophy. We could start by looking at lessons learned from one who personified innovation at its best: Fran Jabara.

Wichita lost this 90-year-old boundary-pushing business advocate last week. His passing has generated countless anecdotes and remembrances. Jabara consulted Bill Lear during Learjet’s launch in the early ’60s. Founded, helped fund and led Wichita State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Brokered deals large and small. Invested in ideas and mentored people. He set an example of success that eschewed a zero sum game in favor of opposing parties walking away winners. Fran Jabara said "If you haven’t failed three or four times, you’re not a true entrepreneur."

Entrepreneurs aren’t about raising awareness. They’re about making things happen. Generating new products, services and business processes. Assessing risk but not being paralyzed by it. Jabara was quoted as having said, “If you haven’t failed three or four times, you’re not a true entrepreneur.” To him, failure was not a badge of shame. You tried and did your best. You learned and moved on. What happened next is what mattered.

Eight Ways to Push Forward

  1. Think new. Especially in business aviation, you see the same aircraft-in-flight ads. The same office-in-the-sky benefits. Be different.
  1. Focus your effort. Consider more one-to-one marketing. More personalized offers that speak to customers’ true points of pain. Be relevant.
  1. Believe in an idea. Success isn’t getting every marketing campaign concept approved by the corner office, but don’t give up on those you think have real merit. Be tenacious.

Weigh entrepreneurial risk against rewards

  1. Analyze the situation. Weigh risk against rewards. Do your due diligence. Get as many facts as you can about the competitive landscape and your target markets. Be smart.
  1. Build support. Use the power of persuasion and personality to get others to join in your vision, gather the proper resources and gain the time to do it right. Be a leader.
  1. Set goals. Move away from brochure-type websites and passive materials to measurable actions. Be accountable.Keep working your entrepreneurial idea.
  1. Change up tactics. If you have been slow to social media, blogging, webinars, behavioral targeting or any number of other outreach approaches; try something different. Be flexible.
  1. See it through. Meet with people one on one. Network with teams. Find common ground. Follow up and finesse your tactics as needed. Keep working your idea. Be collaborative.

Build a Legacy

Marketing like entrepreneurship tends to be a long game with many wins and losses along the way. Keep your eye on the bigger picture. Building raving fans for your brand, developed from true connection and alignment of purpose. Where, like Jabara advocated, both sides win.

Pictured at top: Fran Jabara (left) with Hesston Corp. founder Lyle Yost and Learjet founder Bill Lear. Credit: Jabara Family.

This column ran in the August 5 issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.