Whether the dreams for your business are income based, freedom based, or philanthropic based, most small business owners have big dreams of what they want their business to be one day.
But, sometimes it's difficult to separate that dream from the reality of today, when your desired destination can feel so far away.
So, how do you get from the beginning or middle of your business growth journey, to your desired destination?
In this article, I am going to share my 6 step In-Flight Framework® for taking flight in your business, to help you make it to your destination faster.
What does 'Taking Flight' in your business mean?
Take Flight or Taking Flight
to begin a period of rapid activity, development, or growth towards a specific destination.
In other words, 'Taking Flight' is all about helping you create a shift in momentum, to get you from where you are in your business, closer to where you want to be.
If that's something you're looking for -
Here are my 6 steps for taking flight in your business, so you can make it to your destination faster:
Step 1. Cultivate a High Flyer Mindset
High Flyer Mindset
Believing in what you’re doing with absolute abundant certainty.
Most coaches will tell you that we need to start a growth journey by looking at your mindset.
Dare I say it though, I’ve seen mindset being used by some coaches as a cop out excuse for why people didn’t get the results they wanted from their coaching program, and ooohhh that makes me so angry.
Because mindset definitely isn’t always to blame for people’s lack of results!
Many times lack of results can be put down to a shoddy system (as just one example of many).
For example; if a system’s broken, that’s going to lead to poor results, and mindset has nothing to do with that whatsoever.
But, there’s no denying that a healthy mindset is absolutely critical for success, and that the path to success starts here.
One of my favourite quotes is by Henry Ford when he said:
“If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Essentially, if you don’t believe something is possible, it will prevent you from taking the actions necessary to make it possible.
I also believe that what we focus on magnifies.
So, if you are focusing on “damnit, I don’t have enough sales, I don’t have enough sales” then all your energy is going into “I don’t have enough, I don’t have enough”.
That will start to magnify and things will feel harder!
Where our energy flows, momentum grows.
So, we can use this to our advantage by shifting our focus.
To do this, I encourage my clients to use some positive affirmations such as:
- “My products/services can change people’s lives”
- “My perfect clients are waiting for me”
- “Money flows abundantly to me.”
It is always absolutely incredible how quickly a simple mindset shift can start to bring greater results!
So, step 1 action item is to: check your mindset.
Do you have the mindset of a high-flyer? Or, are you focusing on the “lack” or “scarcity” of any results or second guessing yourself at every step?
If mindset is a battle for you, you might like to check out the Mindset Mofo course.
Step 2. Identify Your Destination
Step 2 is all about setting your goals
- where is it that you actually want to head in your business?
Aka your destination.
Setting goals can be scary for many people.
It’s really common to have some mind stuff to work on around this, because we all have past beliefs or “stories” about how we’ve gone with setting goals in the past.
But, I believe, that having written goals is so important to your business growth journey.
Otherwise, it’s like jumping in the car in a new city, and just following your nose to get about, without using a map or GPS.
Sure, exploring things without a plan has its place, IF you have absolutely no time or budgetary constraints that is.
But I think we can all agree, most of the time, most of us want to end up somewhere specific.
In that case it pays to get clear about your destination!
We can work out our desired destination by asking ourselves four simple questions:
- What is it that you actually want to achieve in your business?
- If you were to describe that as a destination, how would you describe it in one sentence?
- By when?
- And what will you see, feel, or experience when you have arrived at this destination?
You don’t have to go into detail and make a Travel/Route Plan yet.
We’ll deal with that later. You just need to know where you want to end up.
Your step 2 action item is to simply pick your destination, and write it clearly as a sentence or short paragraph.
If you're having some resistance to setting a goal based on a dollar figure, because you aren't motivated by money, then that's totally ok! Instead just pick a goal based around another measure of what success looks like for you.
For example: My goal/destination is to help 10,000 business owners grow their business. It's a goal based on impact rather than money. But, it's just as measurable...
(and it will lead to achieving the money goal by default!!)
Step 3. Check you have enough 'Fuel'
Ok, so by Step 3 you should have a clear destination (aka goal) of where you’re going, and have confidence in your ability to get there, so now it’s time to check you have enough fuel to make it.
Statistically, up to 90% of start-ups fail.
In the first year the failure rate is estimated to be under 10%. But, unfortunately almost 70% of start-ups will fail in their first 5 years.
Businesses can fail for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it's not even that they failed, it's just that the owners decided to close. But almost 20% fail because of cashflow problems.
Which is why I can not stress the importance of Step 3 enough!
The main way to ensure you don't run out of fuel, is to make sure you understand and track your numbers. Numbers are everything!
They tell us what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change, to fuel your travel.
There are 18 numbers that every small business owner should know and measure in their business:
You can read about each of those 18 numbers here.
I've also created a Bingo game that you can download, and keep track of which ones you still need to learn to track. Download that for free here.
Many small business owners find understanding the numbers difficult. So, it is easy to skip past Step 3.
But this is one area of your business you do NOT want to take imperfect action by skipping past. Because, if you do not have adequate profit margins in your business, then by skipping ahead to the marketing part, your just going to make many of your problems worse, not better.
That's because more sales is not always the answer to money problems...
Sometimes our money shortage isn't actually about lack of sales - it's about the absence of profit...
Make sure your business is financially ready to scale, (so that you don't run out of fuel before making it to your destination) with my 5 Step Profit Formula course...
Your Step 3 action step is to learn your numbers and make sure you have enough fuel.
My Profit Formula Course can help you save time and overwhelm doing this.
Then, once you’ve audited your numbers, ask yourself:
- Do you have enough fuel to move on to Step 4?
Step 4. Create a Travel Plan
Now that we are confident you have enough fuel, it’s time to plan the route between where you are now, to your desired destination.
This part can be overwhelming, because there are often a lot of connections and moving parts required to get where you want to go!
Often, this is where employing someone to help you plan your trip (like you would employ a Travel Agent) can help you cut through the overwhelm.
(Aka a business coach or strategist.)
I’m a big fan here of making things easier for yourself, and following a proven route!
I mean - that’s why I created The Helpful Academy in the first place - I got jolly sick of spending my life googling things or lost down a YouTube black hole for hours!!!
So, it can really save you time to follow a carved out path that is proven to work. For example investing in my Flight Club program.
But, if you’ve got no other option than to plan your route yourself, here’s what all travel plans should include:
What is your Airline (Brand) Identity?
You can work this out by answering the questions:
- What are your business values/vision?
- What are you about/not about?
It’s important to know this because 89% of consumers stay loyal to a brand that shares their values.
And if you're clear on your values, it makes it easier to attract people who also share your values!
Here are 5 free and easy ways that you can strengthen your brand identity.
Who are your ideal passengers?
You can work this out by answering the questions:
- Who does your business serve, or
- Who is this specific offer for?
- What specific things do they have in common with each other?
What solution(s) do you offer?
I find the clients with the most success are usually the ones that can communicate and deliver a transformation for people the most clearly.
You can work this out by answering the questions:
- What is your starting offer - the place where people can get started with you?
- What's the next step after that?
- What's the next offer after that?
How much profit do you make on your products/services?
This is a biggy - and I cannot stress it’s importance enough.
If you start to grow your business with unprofitable products/services/packages, it just leads to burn out!
So it is essential to check at the beginning that your offers are actually profitable so you don’t run out of fuel mid-flight!
How are you managing your assets?
A lot of business cashflow problems can be solved, when financial assets are better managed.
This could be as simple as changing how you charge people.
Or, it could be as easy as following the Profit First “bank account accounting method” by Mike Michalowicz, which we highly recommend to all of our clients.
Then once you’ve got all that foundational stuff sorted, it’s important to plan the route your clients will take through your business:
- How will people find out about how you can help them?(your marketing channels)
- How will you collect their information, and carry on the conversation with people, so that they can learn to trust your “airline”?
- What’s the first thing you’ll offer them?
- How will the first transaction take place?E.g. what systems will you use to make that process straightforward?
- How will you delight them with an awesome in-flight experience, so that people want to “travel with your airline again”?
- What other problems can you solve for people?
- And then - how can you communicate that and offer other things to them?
That last one can really help you improve your profit. Because it will increase your lifetime value of each passenger that “uses your airline” - aka does business with you!
As you can see - there are a lot of moving parts in step 4!
This is typically the step that most people need to spend the most time initially on, when they first start working on improving their business. Because it’s common to skip some of these steps when we first set up in business, OR, for the business to morph and change over time and for them to require updating.
So your Step 4 action step is to create yourself a 'Travel Plan' by answering all the questions in this section.
If you’d like a low-cost way to get started with much of this, then my ‘Sell Without Selling’ Course is the best first step.
Or, If you’d like to jump right in and have a step by step framework to follow, to help you create your Travel Plan, of course I'd love to help you with that inside my Flight Club Program.
Step 5. Build Your Aircraft
This might seem a little bit of a surprise, but step 5 is to build your aircraft so that you can actually TAKE Flight…
What do I mean by “build your aircraft?”
I mean - make sure that your business assets are all designed to support your flight.
Your key business assets include:
- Your website - copy and action pathways
- All your marketing materials
- Your email system (both automations and regular updates)
- Your other systems - such as your shopping cart, booking, or client management systems
Once you have designed your Travel Plan - it is ESSENTIAL
(did I say that loudly and clearly enough haha?)
For all your business assets to reflect this Travel Plan.
This is where your infrastructure or assets can really let down your Flight progress!
- If I go to your website right now, will I be able to tell within 5 seconds how you can help me solve my problem, and how I take the first step to working with you?
- What about your social media profiles or other places your business is profiled?
In Step 5 it’s time to ask yourself:
- Is your airport decor super ugly?
- Do you serve gross food in your lounge?
- Is your plane actually accessible to the type of passengers you’re looking to attract?
Well - if not then it’s time to get building and do a little asset maintenance...
Step 6. Time to Fly - Let’s Go Baby!
This is where the wheels leave the tarmac -
By now your jet should be fueled, your passengers are checked in and settled with their in-flight entertainment and it is time to FLY!!!
Step 6 is all about Taking that Flight.
What does that mean in actual practical business terms?
Well - by this time you have laid the foundation:
- You have a profitable offer
- It’s already proven popular with your passengers
- You know how much you’re prepared to spend to acquire each customer and stay profitable
- And all you need to do is find more of your ideal customers to fill your plane time after time after time...
So now it’s time to focus the majority of your energy on growth strategies.
Your Step 6 action action items are all about getting visible:
- Creating a visibility plan to make sure every person knows your airline exists
- Scaling your offer using paid advertising
And then eventually you’ll get to the point where you have need even more emphasis on:
- Growing your team so that your airline can stay well staffed at all times.
'Taking Flight' in business doesn't happy overnight, and it isn't for the faint of heart. But, the journey can definitely be made easier with a Framework to follow!
I hope this article has given you some good tips for improving your flight plan, to help you get better results in your business.
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Flight Club is by far most affordable way to get training and support with Kat long term!
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About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).