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McWhirter: Countdown to 2010

There are opportunities for many companies to capitalize on the Olympics, but they are often intimidated by the size and scope of the Games


May 29, 2007
By Mark McWhirter

Topics

Mark McWhirter

There are opportunities for many companies to capitalize on the
Olympics, but they are often intimidated by the size and scope of the
Games. It seems there is an underlying belief that if a company is
small, then it has no chance; there are no opportunities for it
associated with the Olympics. The opposite is true.

It
is easy to understand why so many companies have this misconception,
especially when announcements from the Olympics are all related to
large companies and lucrative sponsorship agreements. However, the
backbone of the Olympics is far from the multimillion-dollar companies
providing sponsorships. It is small businesses that do consulting work
and volunteers who commit their time to a successful Games.

The
Olympic Games are a functioning business unit, no different than a
functioning economy. The trick is to try to benefit from a short event
and maintain success thereafter from the lasting benefits. Contrary to
popular belief, there is great potential for small companies in all
aspects of rotary-wing aviation.

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The power of small companies
can be seen across Canada regardless of geography or industry – the
rotary-wing industry is no exception. In fact, small and medium sized
enterprises employ 60% of Canadians, and result in 43% of private
sector output. The forces that drive many of the small companies have
much in common with what drives the economy – innovation, technology
and knowledge.

A significant competitive advantage can be found
in the hands-on management style of many small Canadian helicopter
operators. Whether the owner is a pilot or involved in all aspects of
the business, this person becomes an important central source of
information and guidance. Ultimately the company is not run just as an
investment – it is an extension of the owner.

The lack of a
traditional hierarchical management structure leads to a leaner, more
financially efficient organization which is certainly an asset to a
structured procurement process such as the Olympics. The focus on value
within the games is highlighted in the bidding process: “The primary
goal of VANOC’s procurement efforts is to maximize the value of goods
and services received for the money spent.”

A significant
portion of the success a small operator achieves is based on the people
behind it who are the driving force of the business. I recently had the
opportunity to talk to some up-andcoming helicopter operators in
Canada. One such firm, TRK Helicopters of Langley, which is featured in
this issue’s cover story, highlights all the advantages of a growing
and dynamic company with endless possibilities for success. President,
owner and pilot Randy Marks is a prime example of how to develop a
company by adding knowledgeable and respected personnel to a solid
business plan.

There are many sources of information on
opportunities associated with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It is
important to monitor these channels on a frequent basis and to become
aware of how the bid process works. The most important sources are:

• www.vancouver2020.com – the official 2010 Vancouver Olympic Site

• www.2010commercecentre.com – British Columbia Ministry of Economic Development

• www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/ – infrastructure developments associated with the province.

All
of the above websites offer businesses the ability to create a profile
and enable automatic alerts regarding potential procurement
opportunities. It is a simple step that could offer great rewards in
the long run. As I mentioned in my previous column, it is important to
get involved with associations both within the industry (HAC) and
geographic location (Chamber of Commerce). There are near endless
business contacts which can be made through these associations.

Small
operators do not need to be intimidated by larger competitors or
large-scale events. In all reality, it is an even playing field in
which any company can compete regardless of size. The key is in the
leadership and vision of the management, since the same information can
be found by anyone.

 


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