Richard Schuman

Schuman Aviation (Makani Kai Air)

To be a good leader, you have to lead by example. You need to be willing to do whatever it takes to make the job happen. If your employees see you willing to take that extra effort, that extra step, they’ll follow.
Meet Richard Schuman

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About the Entrepreneur

Richard Schuman has been immersed in the transportation industry his entire life. His great-grandfather started Schuman Carriage, a company that built horse-drawn carriages, in 1893. That business eventually gave way to a well-known automotive dealership. In 1995, Richard purchased Makani Kai Helicopters. Today, Makani Kai is a division of Schuman Aviation, a company that includes another helicopter tour company, Magnum Helicopters; an aircraft repair company; and Makani Kai Air, which offers up to eight flights a day between Honolulu and Molokai. Schuman Aviation is renowned for its exceptional safety record and customer service. In 2015, Makani Kai received a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for its consistently high customer reviews.

Ask the Entrepreneur

More with Richard

How do you promote your business?

On our helicopter side, we use traditional marketing, such as advertising in the magazines in Waikiki, as well as brochures and flyers. For our Molokai customers, we advertise in the weekly Molokai newspaper.

How do you use social media to build your company’s brand?

Social media is important for us. A lot of customers look at social media for testimonials about your product and your service. We try to do a good job of taking care of our customers, and they share that with their friends, family and on social media.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs for marketing their businesses?

Know your customers and have a targeted focus on those customers. For example, I’ve featured real customers in ads on the front page of the Molokai newspaper. It’s a community-based paper, and we want customers who are local people who reside and travel to and from Molokai.

What do you love about banking with Hawaii National Bank?

Their willingness to come to my location, to see how we operate, to meet my people and get to know my business. I’ve banked with the two largest banks in Hawaii for many years, and when I moved to Hawaii National Bank I was very impressed — I couldn’t believe that banks operate the way they operate. They operate the way I envision banks should operate: Where they get to know you as a customer, they get to know your type of business, and they are willing to support your growth. That’s what we need as small business people.

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