Sevjet.com claims to be the finest aircraft fleet available offering services at a price that makes sense. The company, run by Ian K. Gonzales, also states that they serve their clients to their maximum potential delivering an unprecedented travel experience. Let us have a look at what the owner himself has to say about his goals, the birth of his company Sevjet.com, its future and more…
Q: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans: SevJet is a premier private aviation boutique firm, specializing in providing our clients the ideal travel experience aboard various private aircrafts, at discounted pricing; thus, saving clients thousands of dollars on private flights. SevJet arranges all scheduling to include, but not limited to, hotel reservations, ground transportation, restaurant reservations, specialty/sporting events.
SevJet has unique partnerships with aircraft and yacht owners, located across the United States, serving clients internationally, too. SevJet’s main offices are located in New York, New Jersey, Florida and California, with offices opening in Texas and Colorado in 2013.
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: Ian K. Gonzales is a former US Marine, with six personal medals, to include his highest award given by the Secretary of the Navy for his efforts in Mogadishu, Somolia and Iraq, two tours and one tour, respectively. He graduated from Binghamton University, with a B.S. in Accounting, and worked at UBS Investment Bank marketing/trading fixed income derivatives with Fortune 500 companies, prior to entering the private aviation arena. Ian resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Q: What ignited the spark in you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: I was working on Wall Street, from 7-7, Mon to Fri, for nearly a decade – the job was taking its toll and the work became mundane – I was no longer interested in the job function. One day I was invited to visit a peer’s office, that specialized in private aviation, and I became enamored with the idea of assisting high-end clients with their travel needs. It wasn’t too long before I quit my investment banking job, and dove into the world of private aviation. After nearly a year, my friend and I decided to open our own private aviation boutique firm, offering our clients what most other aviation companies do not offer: hands-on travel experience. After a couple of years in business, our business has grown 4x from our initial year in business.
Q: How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: One’s employees will either make or break one’s business – it is solely the employees that attribute to the Company’s success – especially in a service-oriented business such as private aviation. We’ve managed to double our employee headcount each year, and recruit those that have a genuine love for the business in general. Our employees want to be here, and it shows in their daily work activity.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Ans: One: do what it is that you love to do.
Two: do not chase money.
Three: only think positively.
If you do what it is you have a passion for, then it will shine through to your clients and peers. Income should be a secondary concern, and never should there be the idea of not succeeding. If you’re doing what it is you love, and know it is what you desire to do, you’ll never fail.
Q: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I do not think I would do anything differently. I had the opportunity to work in a formal, corporate setting teaching me how to work well with others and servicing clients properly. I think having had the fortune of serving in the US Marines and working in corporate America gave me the tools I needed to be successful today.
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: One: knowledge of the business.
Two: communicating to clients.
Three: speaking confidently.
I believe to be successful you have to have an in-depth knowledge of the business you are running. No customer wants to do business with one that does not know the ins and outs of their particular business. In doing business with clients, communication, both oral and written, is imperative to generating new business and maintaining existing business.
Q: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I try to stick with an idea for as long as I believe it to be a successful one. If an idea proves to be invaluable, after investing an appropriate amount of time, then I’ll table the idea at a later time. Ideas are similar to investments in that each idea offers its own risk/reward profile, i.e., opportunity costs need to be analyzed for any idea.
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: I like to work at least 10 hours a day, but there is no limit to the amount of hours I will work. I work as many hours as it takes to accomplish my goals for the day.
Q: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: It makes an impact regarding the time available for family. In some instances, given the time of season, I’ve had no time for family, and during the non-peak season, I make myself available often. At any given moment, I’m continually thinking of what can I do to increase business.
Q: What motivates you?
Ans: My clients are my motivation; they are the reason I choose to do this with my life.
Q: How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: Our employees offer great new ideas; each employee has their own experiences and biases they bring to the table. Thinking outside the box is oftentimes a great way to generate new ideas.
Q: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: My greatest fear is any one of my clients calling and saying they had an unpleasant experience – I do not like that. I am here solely to ensure each experience with the Company is both pleasant and memorable. The best way to manage this fear is to not allow it to occur, by ensuring in each and every flight that the aircraft is in pristine condition and the pilot crew is personable and courteous.
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: The best way to build a successful customer base is simple: provide exemplary service and superior product to clients, at a modest price. Our clients keep on coming back because they know what they are getting in return.