Small Business Canada

As Jettly’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Pilot, Justin Crabbe is responsible for the global strategy and operations of Jettly, including the management of all business units within the organization. Justin has been featured in dozens of publications and interviews including Forbes, CNBC, National Post, Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance and many more.

Can you tell us a little bit about the global strategy of Jettly and what methods are used to accomplish it?

At first, we needed to develop a network of operators, aircraft, and pilots to meet the demand in North America.
The process of building that network took well over a year and continues to grow as new operators, aircraft, and pilots are continually being introduced to our network.

Once our North American network was established, we were able to focus our efforts on secondary and tertiary markets such as the UK, Europe, Asia, and Russia. All of which make up a very significant portion of our annual revenue.

Each time we would enter a new market, we would carefully study flight data to establish critical cities and routes to focus on. Once we had built the network of pilots and aircraft in a particular market, it was a matter of beginning strategic marketing efforts in each of those regions and monitoring our key performance indicators to ensure we were successful.

As CEO of Jettly, part of your responsibility is to look after the management of all business units within the organization. What would you say is the most challenging part of that task?

Jettly has every facet of running an airline that one would expect. 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, our team has to be prepared to deal with last-minute flight changes, cancellations, pilot and crew shortages, aircraft shortages, aircraft mechanical issues, stranded passengers, inclement weather, in-air diversions, temporary flight restrictions put in place by regulators, onboard catering requests, ground transportation arrangements, and much more.

And this is on a global basis with aircraft and operators in over 190 countries and territories.

Additional challenges arise when dealing with language barriers, multi-jurisdictional tax schemes, aviation regulations that differ from country to country, and a complete flight support department that must work around-the-clock.

You have successfully created yourself a reputation of being a serial entrepreneur with having owned, created and managed several Internet-based companies. Do you believe that internet-based companies are at higher risk of success as opposed to others?

Fortunately, we live in an era where it’s never been easier to start an internet-based company, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it easy to be successful.

With a traditional brick and mortar business, you have your place of business, you deal with a local customer base, and you get to go home at night without much to worry about other than a competitor opening shop down the street.

With the internet and internet-based business, competitors can appear out of nowhere, and the way society interacts with the internet is continuously changing, and can impact your business overnight. You have to have
extremely thick skin and be prepared for anything.

The ability to start a business online is quite easy these days, and that significantly adds to the competition in almost every sector. The costs to start an online business are slim to nil in comparison to a traditional brick and mortar establishment. You would be hard-pressed to purchase or start any brick and mortar business under $50,000, and many online companies that I’ve begun required under $1000 to start.

The risk of failure due to a lack of experience in online businesses is exceptionally high. Fortunately, I was born in the era of computers, and then a few years later the internet, but if I hadn’t latched onto it gaining the experience at an early age, there is no way that Jettly would be as established and successful as it is today.

Innovation is great and plays a crucial role in the success of Jettly and is what makes us stand out from our competitors. Innovation is vital because it gives companies an added edge to enter a market faster and more efficiently, which can lead to more significant opportunities. 

You’ve been involved in over 50 e-commerce stores. What would you believe is the biggest benefit that e-commerce brings to the business industry?

E-commerce is traditional commerce done by way of the internet. The element of “commerce” has not changed in thousands of years, but what has changed is how the commerce, or “the exchange of goods and services” is delivered.

E-commerce brings a wide range of additional benefits to the seller and consumer. The most significant benefit to sellers, in my opinion, is a streamlined delivery and sales platform such as eBay and Amazon or Shopify which allows them to reduce overhead costs and increase sales and efficiency at scale. The most significant benefit to consumers, in my opinion, is in time-saving and reduced costs through reduced retailer overhead when purchasing online vs. through a traditional brick and mortar establishment.

Would you say that innovation plays a crucial role in the success of the company?

Innovation is great and plays a crucial role in the success of Jettly and is what makes us stand out from our competitors. Innovation is vital because it gives companies an added edge to enter a market faster and more efficiently, which can lead to more significant opportunities.

Competitors come and go from every market, but if there are competitors, there is a market to compete for, and that’s always good for business. Competitors are a good thing and should not deter an entrepreneur from entering the market. You want to have other people with some skin in the game. You never want to be alone in your market. If you are alone, that usually means your market is quite small.

You’ve been in a leadership role for most of your career. How would you describe yourself as a leader?

I like to lead by example and tie it into my core values and try to instill those values on my employees. A great leader should lead from the front by taking action demonstrating what needs to be done. If you do this right, you’ll keep your team organized and highly efficient functioning as a real team where everyone is contributing equally.

It takes more than having a strong product for a company to be successful. A strong management team and leader to look after its operations is an important access for any company to succeed and grow. In your expert opinion, what are the top three characteristics that make a good leader?

I believe that there are a lot more than three characteristics, but the top three that I see are the most important, are creativity to innovate something and establish yourself or your innovation as a leader vs. a follower.

Tenacity to be persistent enough and determined to make it through the tough times (and there certainly are many) along with a combination of honesty and integrity.

If you aren’t honest and lack integrity, no matter what you’re leading, whether it is a sports team or an office, no real success is possible.

Can you tell us about what the future of Jettly looks like? What are some of the projects that the company is working on?

Now that we have established a global network of aircraft, pilots, and operators, one of the projects we are working on is to develop scheduled routes between select cities around the world where each seat onboard the aircraft is sold to a single passenger vs. the entire plane being sold to an individual customer. Think of this as the world’s first business-class-only airline.

This allows travelers who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to charter an entire aircraft themselves to benefit from the luxuries and conveniences of flying private.

It also benefits the operators and pilots with a new stream of additional customers reducing their operational and fixed costs by keeping the aircraft in the air, generating revenue for them longer.

On a personal note, you became the youngest store manager of McDonald’s at the age of sixteen. How did it feel to have such a big responsibility at such a young age?

In one word, it was great. I quickly rose through lower-level positions and achieved the position of store manager in a little over one year. I was extremely determined at a very young age and enjoyed the challenges of leading a team to provide excellent customer service to each customer that came through the door. The perception of McDonald’s to many people may seem somewhat rudimentary, but you would be hard-pressed to find a company as established and well managed than McDonald’s, and I still remember and implement some of the principals McDonald’s taught me to this day.

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