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Exclusive: TK On JetBlue, Spirit & Frontier Airlines Merger Proposals

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TK On JetBlue, Spirit & Frontier Airlines Merger Proposals

#JetBlue #Spirit #amp #Frontier #Airlines #Merger #Proposals

If you listen long enough, almost every business leader on the planet will eventually tell you the same thing: Our people are our most important asset. 

That’s often right. But for many businesses, I think their second-most important asset is sometimes undervalued.

It’s their relationship with their customers — maybe even more specifically, their customer email list.

Case in point: You might know that two airlines right now are both competing with each other to acquire Spirit Airlines

  • On the one hand, there’s Frontier Airlines, which made a roughly $21 per share cash-and-stock offer that was scheduled to go before Spirit Airlines shareholders this week.
  • On the other hand, there’s JetBlue, which made a $30 per share cash offer-;then raised it to $31.50-;and is trying to squeeze Frontier out of the process.

Spirit delayed the shareholder vote yesterday, in light of JetBlue’s revised offer. And, that’s the context in which the CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes, sent an email to JetBlue passengers-;apparently to every member of JetBlue’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program-;updating them on the proposal.

It did really three things: 

  • First, it framed the argument JetBlue makes it for why JetBlue is the better deal. (“In short, this combination would bring you more of the JetBlue you know and love…”)
  • Second, it set expectations for how quickly everyone might know the outcome. (“Our proposal is in the early stages and we won’t know for some time if we will be able to acquire Spirit.”)
  • Finally, and this might be most important, it directed email recipients to a website pushing shareholders of Spirit to vote against the Frontier deal, with a clear call call to action and a simple interface.

This last bullet point to me is the most interesting, because it involves using JetBlue’s customer base and email list for something other than direct marketing-;which frankly is why I normally hear from airlines that have my email address. 

JetBlue confirmed that the message went out to their frequent flyer list, and that of course it  also has a strategy to reach out to both individual investors at Spirit and institutional investors to try to get them to reject the Frontier deal.

JetBlue declined to reveal how many people that means, but KYROS, an actuarial firm that focuses on loyalty programs, reports that during 2017, JetBlue had at least 2 million award redemptions individual members might redeem points more than once, of course.

It seems safe to assume it’s measured in the many thousands or more, but I’m curious as to how many JetBlue frequent flyers could possibly also be shareholders in Spirit. 

Look, leaving that detail behind, I acknowledge that I have the zeal of a convert when it comes to the value of email and email marketing.

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I’m swayed by having written a daily email newsletter for nearly four years, first here at Inc.com and more recently at Understandably.com.

But the fact that your business can cultivate direct ways to connect with your most valuable customers at scale — most often via email — is a game changer that wasn’t appreciated even just a few years back.

It’s not just about having the email addresses; it’s about using them judiciously, so that there’s value in what you send, and so that when do ask your customers to do something other than buy from you directly, you do it in a way that doesn’t turn them off, and might even get them to act.

A customer email like this one that runs just 200 words — and that perhaps more importantly has only a single call to action — fits the bill.

I reached out to all of the players here. Frontier declined to comment; Sprit referred me to its statement postponing the meeting.

And, I’m basically agnostic as to whether JetBlue buys Spirit, or Frontier does, or neither.

I can make the case why either airline would want to make the deal, and I also can see how it might be a net positive for consumers if Spirit were to become acquired and thus create a fifth major carrier that could compete with Delta, American, United, and Southwest Airlines.

But, the real reason I follow the airlines are to learn from them, not to participate in the business.

There might not be another industry with so many big, publicly traded players in a pure commodity industry, with an army of analysts, investors and journalists dissecting their every move — figuring out whether turning a figurative here or changing a marketing message there actually has any effect.

As I write in my free ebook, Flying Business Class: 12 Rules for Leaders From the U.S. Airlines, it’s like a nonstop parade of business school cases you can use and learn from.

Today’s takeaway is simple: Collect your customers’ email addresses, treat them with respect, and use them wisely. You never know when you might be glad you did. 

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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Exclusive: American Airlines offers pilots nearly 17% raises in new contract proposal – TalkOfNews.com

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American Airlines offers pilots nearly 17% raises in new contract proposal

#American #Airlines #offers #pilots #raises #contract #proposal

Pilots talk as they look at the tail of an American Airlines aircraft.

Mike Stone | Reuters

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom on Thursday said the carrier has offered its pilots pay raises totaling nearly 17% under a new contract, according to an internal video seen by CNBC.

The latest proposal to the pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, comes less than a week after rival United Airlines and its pilots’ union reached a tentative agreement that includes more than 14% in total raises within 18 months, the first major U.S. airline in the industry to get to that point in the pandemic.

The deal faces a vote by United’s pilots that ends in mid-July, however, and it is still not clear whether it could pass.

Earlier this month, Isom said American would make a new offer to the carriers roughly 15,000 pilots once the details of United’s deal were released.

“United put forth industry leading pay, and we matched that for our team,” Isom said in the video message Thursday, referring to pilot pay rates.

American’s latest proposal comes as the industry is struggling with a shortage of pilots, particularly at smaller regional airlines. At the same time, travel demand has soared, catching many airlines flat-footed, especially during peak travel periods.

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Earlier this week, American Airlines’ regional carrier Envoy Air said pilots could receive triple pay for picking up open trips in July, CNBC reported earlier this week.

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Exclusive: 6 Essential Elements of Getting More Customers – TalkOfNews.com

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6 Essential Elements of Getting More Customers

#Essential #Elements #Customers

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There’s no one way to get customers. It should be a multi-faceted approach, not only for the near future, but also to create enough inbound traffic so that two years from now, having taken the right actions today, your offerings practically fill themselves up. This is why getting customers needs to be a system. Like cogs in a wheel, there’s an integration, and if one gear is off, you can’t expect the most effective results.

Here are six essential elements that go into getting more customers. The system is the acronym PEOPLE. It is, after all — more people, more customers — that we are striving for.

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Attract More Customers Fast

1. Prospecting

Often, the number one stop-block keeping a business from getting more customers is that they are starting with too small of a number at the top. There are not enough prospects to begin with to convert to customers. This leaves too much pressure to convert the limited number of prospects. What happens when there’s pressure to make a sale? Or worse yet, the customer feels the pressure? They back up, and it becomes a self-defeating cycle.

The solution is to have various active and continuous prospecting systems in place, feeding in prospects all the time. It’s best if these prospecting systems can run like a machine with tasks being delegated until you or a sales representative may need to step in.

With continuous prospecting systems in place, this is where the greatest reward may be down the road a bit. But here’s a forewarning: When do most people stop or ease up on prospecting? When they’re busy. What happens then? When they slow down, there aren’t enough people knocking at the proverbial door. So, the feast-or-famine cycle continues. Systematize your prospecting so that there’s a constant and steady stream of possibilities.

2. Exposure

Again, this is more longer-term thinking, but it’s so important for your future. Exposure comes from the content you are putting out —writing articles, podcasts as host or guest, books, live streams and social media. Rarely are the results immediate, which is what causes many people to give up before rewards are seen. Think of it as building lurkers (people watching you that you have no idea are there). Although it can sometimes feel like you’re shouting into an echo chamber, chances are, there are prospects watching what you’re doing.

These “lurkers” are building a relationship with you. They are finding you as a trusted resource for their needs. If you keep providing value, they will step forward and then begin the journey from onlooker to customer.

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Exposure takes discipline. Keep putting out valuable content. Gain exposure in whatever mediums you can. But don’t attempt to do it all! Strategically put yourself in front of your intended customers as frequently as possible.

3. Open to relationships

We know businesses are built on relationships, right? The suggestion here is to be open to relationships. Sometimes the value in connecting with someone can’t be seen right away. Perhaps in our attempt to protect our time and keep at bay the number of people that want to “pick our brain,” we may not be remaining as open as we might think. If you have all the business you need right now, maybe this is not the most essential element for you. However, it also holds the greatest possibility of a pretty immediate return.

There’s no doubt you’ve had the experience of a random meeting leading to something — a chance meeting or moment of synchronicity. It may have led to immediate business, a great introduction or the building of a relationship. It has also been the story of great romances.

The point is, we don’t always know what’s around the corner and who we might meet. If you remain open to relationships, you increase your willingness to put yourself in situations where a beneficial meeting of the minds, or heart, just might occur.

Even now, quite sometime after the lockdown and pandemic, many people are not as actively interacting with other people. Perhaps they’re not going to networking events or attending professional meetings, leaving themselves less open to relationships than is best for business growth. Create as many opportunities for something good to happen as possible!

Related: 4 Steps to Getting More Clients Right Now

4. Promotional

Promotional efforts will tend to be paid advertising with anticipated shorter-term results. It could be paid ads on social media, email marketing, marketing pieces or any effort where you are expecting a bit more of a direct ROI.

Promotional efforts are a good balance to other efforts and satisfies the desire to take action now and hope for more immediate results. That’s not to say it’s always a short-term strategy. An entire business can be driven by paid and unpaid promotion over a long strategy. The difference is, for promotional effort to be effective, there is typically a need to closely monitor the ROI, whether it’s return on money or time invested. A proactive promotional strategy assures that you’re taking action towards your goals.

5. Lead magnets

The concept of a lead magnet says it all. You are leading a prospect to a deeper relationship by offering something truly magnetic. It’s a point of direct value exchange. You provide value. The potential customers opt-in to a more committed relationship with you, at least in the form of providing an email.

The goal here is clear and intentional. You are leading a prospect closer to you through an exchange of value. It’s like the ask in a sale. If you don’t ask, rarely will you get. If you don’t lead, you’re not offering your expertise. Or as Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

The goal of a lead magnet is a direct request, or exchange, to open up the channel of a prospect to becoming a customer. This more direct action is an excellent balance to other actions that are longer-term.

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6. Exceptional

What’s the absolute easiest way to get more customers? Make the ones you have insanely happy by being exceptional. Yes, exceptional.

Anything less than exceptional may not be enough to make your business memorable or to inspire referrals. This also requires a system to maintain your existing customers and to inspire referrals.

To feed this potentially bountiful system of getting customers, I highly recommend carefully tracking and constantly implementing strategies to increase customer loyalty and referrals. It’s often the lowest hanging fruit, and it can reward you with the quickest results.

Related: Want More Customers? Get Quality Referrals From Existing Customers

As a good system should be, this is about a healthy balance. Amongst these six essential elements are efforts that will pay off in the short term and in the long term. Consider these six elements like a checklist or elements of a healthy ecosystem. When each element is taken care of, you create a consistent flow of incoming customers now and in the future.

Business Strategies, Entrepreneurial Advice & Inspiring Stories are all in one place. Explore the new Entrepreneur Bookstore.

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Exclusive: MTD for VAT: 7 tips to help clients with Making Tax Digital – TalkOfNews.com

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MTD for VAT: 7 tips to help clients with Making Tax Digital

#MTD #VAT #tips #clients #Making #Tax #Digital

Got new or existing clients looking to change their processes so they adhere to Making Tax Digital for VAT?

With all VAT registered businesses having to follow Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT rules, the number of clients you need to help in this area will increase (if it hasn’t already).

To help you support your clients with MTD, we’ve created this article.

It covers the benefits of digital working and how to educate your clients on how they need to submit their VAT Returns, and plenty more too.

Plus, discover how your practice can save time and money with this ROI calculator.

Here’s what we cover:

Which clients does Making Tax Digital for VAT apply to?

How to encourage clients to move to digital ways of working

7 tips to get clients with Making Tax Digital for VAT

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Final thoughts on Making Tax Digital for VAT

All VAT-registered businesses have to follow the Making Tax Digital for VAT rules.

Since 2019, MTD for VAT applied to businesses with a taxable turnover that was over the VAT threshold (currently £85,000).

The remit for MTD for VAT expanded in April 2022. Now, the rules also apply to businesses under the threshold that are registered for VAT (unless they’re exempt).

One of the key reasons for Making Tax Digital existing is to encourage businesses to adopt digital ways of working.

To resist this is not only to risk breaking the law but it also puts the business at a competitive disadvantage.

When attempting to comply with MTD’s rules, businesses that cling to old ways of working and rely largely on paper have to put in more effort than those that don’t.

But you can help your clients by communicating this to them, while emphasising the benefits.

Using HMRC-recognised accounting software means business admin tasks can be reduced from days to just hours.

It means businesses always know their cash flow position, so they can make smart decisions (and spot any problems before they become out of control).

And creating a VAT Return if the accounting data is already within the software is just a matter of clicking a few options, then perhaps applying adjustments, and clicking to submit the return.

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It’s this positive and inspiring message that can often be buried underneath what seems to businesses to be yet another mandatory requirement from the government.

And it’s not just clients that benefit.

Making Tax Digital means that you, as an accountant, are in a better position to assist your clients and offer an even better service to them.

Start your clients on the journey today by helping them use software that’s MTD-ready and that will support all future MTD compliance requirements.

In April 2024, many sole traders will have to use MTD for their income tax. While from April 2026 at the earliest, incorporated businesses will have to use MTD for their corporation tax returns.

Here are seven ways you can help and support your clients with Making Tax Digital for VAT.

HMRC is relying on accountants to educate about the specifics of MTD for VAT.

Since you intimately understand the situations of your clients, this makes sense.

So how can you do this?

Here’s three easy and simple suggestions:

  1. Tack on information to the end of existing conversations. Use every client touchpoint as an excuse to educate, and ensure all members of your staff have the knowledge to do so. Some practices have even added MTD messaging to their email signatures to ensure it’s always included in communications. Updating your website and social media accounts is a wise move.
  2. Email blasts can keep your clients up to date. In fact, treating this just like a marketing campaign will pay dividends because you should be selling new or different service offerings that fit with MTD’s requirements and what your clients need. Treat this as an opportunity to sell increased awareness of what you offer.
  3. Webinars can help you reach lots of people. If you run the webinar as a Q&A session, the initial prep requirement is reduced too. Worried about being stumped by a difficult question? Let people know you may have to respond with an answer after the webinar. And video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are essentially free, easy to use, and widely adopted.

This might catch out clients who ask you to take care of their VAT Returns for them.

They might think they can simply forget about Making Tax Digital for VAT, and carry on as they always have.

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But they’ve still got to keep VAT accounting records digitally, and know about the digital linking rules (no copy/cutting and pasting of key VAT data from one destination to another).

This might seem like an education issue. But it’s more than that.

You may need to help your clients adopt a digital solution that’s right for their needs.

At its most basic, this could be just a spreadsheet – although the MTD for VAT rules mean it needs to include more details than just input and output VAT amounts (for example, invoice-level details such as tax point dates, VAT rates, and so on).

But if the client uses accounting software that connects to your systems, which in turn makes producing VAT Returns much easier, it’s a win-win situation for both you and them.

When clients first hear that Making Tax Digital is going to affect them, you can expect four W questions in rapid succession: Why, when, who, and what.

The ‘when’ question is likely to be one of the most pressing that clients will ask of you because they’ll be afraid of getting penalised.

You can answer it very easily by providing deadlines for the client to meet. This includes registration deadlines, start days, and first filing dates, as follows:

When do clients sign up for MTD for VAT?

Clients shouldn’t sign up less than:

  • Seven days before their return is due; or
  • Five days after their return is due.

When do clients start using MTD for VAT?

For clients who file quarterly VAT Returns, these are examples of what start dates look like:

  • 1 April 2022: If the previous VAT quarter ended 31 March 2022.
  • 1 May 2022: If the previous VAT quarter ended 30 April 2022.
  • 1 June 2022: If the previous VAT quarter ended 31 May 2022.

When do clients first file VAT Returns using MTD for VAT?

Again assuming quarterly returns, these are examples of when initial VAT Returns for MTD for VAT must be filed:

  • 7 August 2022 for a VAT quarter beginning 1 April 2022.
  • 7 September 2022 for a VAT quarter beginning 1 May 2022.
  • 7 October 2022 for a VAT quarter beginning 1 June 2022.

Before clients can register for Making Tax Digital for VAT, they need to know which MTD-recognised accounting software they’re going to use. HMRC won’t let them proceed unless this is known.

The software can take different forms, depending on the client’s needs, and you should be prepared to help with solutions.

Some may choose to use bridging software with their existing spreadsheets.

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Others may use their existing software but add in an MTD for VAT submissions module.

Then there are those who find their software is already MTD-recognised and they simply need to register for MTD, and then authenticate within the software.

Make sure your clients realise that. Just because the software is MTD-recognised, it doesn’t mean they are.

Helping clients with software is one of the immediate messages to communicate, because some may need to switch accounting packages if the one they use can’t be updated.

While you have to educate your clients about Making Tax Digital for VAT, you also need to cover myths, misinformation and incorrect assumptions.

For example, clients may assume there’s another soft landing period this time around for MTD for VAT.

In April 2019, this provided additional time for businesses to be less strict when interpreting the digital linking rules, meaning they could continue to copy and paste from one place to another.

However, there’s no soft landing period now for new adopters of MTD for VAT.

There’s a new penalty points system to consider too, which starts from January 2023.

By far the biggest misconception will be that MTD doesn’t apply to your voluntary VAT-registered clients (it does, of course).

There might also be beliefs that businesses can opt-out of MTD for VAT, with clients perhaps having heard about digital exclusion.

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But this is limited to exceptional individual circumstances, such as where somebody lives in a location without internet access, or for people who can’t use technology because of physical or mental impairments.

Education on Making Tax Digital for VAT may be just the first step for you to take with your clients.

You may need to help some of them translate their existing processes into ones that are compatible with MTD for VAT.

If invoices are created outside the accounting software, for example, the details need to be entered into the system to be compliant with the digital records requirement.

This needs to be something that always happens for each and every invoice, otherwise there’s a risk of penalties from HMRC.

Key to helping clients create MTD-compatible workflows is identifying the points at which accounting data is generated or manipulated.

Typically, this will be at the point at which sales and purchases are made.

In this instance, ask your clients when paperwork is generated for VAT purposes, because it’s that VAT data that needs to be captured (such as tax point, VAT rate, VAT number and so on).

It’s when they receive receipts, bills and invoices, for example, that they’ll need to be aware of MTD for VAT’s requirements.

Having gained experience from the 2019 rollout of Making Tax Digital for VAT, you can segment clients into lists that will determine how and when you help them.

You might segment out those that need help first (such as monthly VAT filers), or those that are more technically savvy and will perhaps need less help overall.

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And it’s likely that some of your clients will embrace MTD for VAT more wholeheartedly than others, who may consider it a difficult and painful process.

So why not leverage the clients that can in order to help the clients that can’t?

There’s a number of ways you can do this, such as via client get-togethers (in person or online).

Some practices even run their own private online chat forums on their websites, where clients can gather to speak to each other.

Onboarding clients to Making Tax Digital for VAT might feel like a duty for accountancy practices, but it’s actually a way to increase exposure for what you do.

Savvy practices are using it as an opportunity to create new service offerings that are more aligned the way the business world operates nowadays.

Why not do the same?

At the end of the day, helping clients with new processes can be a rewarding experience in itself, and can help increase client confidence and satisfaction in what you do for them.

Editor’s note: This article was first published in January 2022 and has been updated for relevance.

Making Tax Digital: A practice survival guide

Need support with Making Tax Digital, for your clients and your practice? This free guide will help you get ready for MTD for VAT, Income Tax Self Assessment and Corporation Tax.

Download your free guide

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