Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Alexi Huntley Khajavi, co-owner of carbon neutral airline, NatureAir, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
To date, NatureAir has offset nearly 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide through the protection of more than 300 acres of primary tropical forests. In addition, we fuel all of NatureAir’s ground equipment and vehicles with bio-diesel, which for us is a mix of recycled vegetable and cooking oils collected from airline employees and local restaurants. It’s estimated that this biodegradable fuel will reduce roughly 160 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
Having the freedom to put my own ideas into action.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
The job never ends. It becomes really difficult to clock out or check out mentally for the night or the weekend. I’m constantly either being called on by colleagues or employees, or I’m running through my own to-do list in my head.
Name: Alexi Huntley Khajavi
Business: NatureAir, an eco-friendly airline.
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Year founded: 1991
Number of employees: 175
Web address: www.natureair.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Wading through a foreign country’s rules and regulations was a significant challenge for us in the beginning. Even though we asked a lot of questions and tried to learn as quickly as we could, these added difficulties slowed down our initial development.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Putting absolute and total faith in”experts” who told us how to run our business. We made a couple of wrong turns in the beginning based on the guidance of consultants who thought they knew better.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Stay close to your customers and treat them and your employees like you would treat your best friend.
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