There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic, to make you feel like you’re walking through quicksand, and cause you to be constantly re-evaluating what’s possible!
And for most of us, heading into year 3 of a pandemic, it’s hard to know where to even start to get ourselves back onto solid footing…
Because it’s pretty old news that people are tired of the *c* word.
And it’s also old news that the economy and business arena have a whole new set of challenges upon them to deal with on the daily!
So, what can you actually DO when you want or *need* to take flight in your business, but times are tougher than they’ve ever been in our lifetimes?
In this article, I am going to share my simple methodology and 6 Step In-Flight Framework™ that I use with my clients,
So that you can see if any of it can be applied to your business, to help you Take Flight too.
But, important note:
If you’re looking for a “silver bullet” then this isn’t the article for you.
Because business takes work, and unfortunately there is not such thing as a “beam me up Scottie” way to take flight.
But, there are proven systems and methods you can use to accelerate your success, and that’s more what this article is about today.
First, let’s define “Taking Flight in Business”
Take Flight or Taking Flight
The action of confidently and profitably growing a business.
So, when you want to take flight - where do you start?
Here are my 6 steps for becoming a High Flyer…
Let's explore them in more detail:
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 -
I hate that coaching cop out line!!!
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!
Just this week I was in session with a client, and we worked on a mindset reframe. Within two hours she was ringing me with excitement because a perfect client had come out of nowhere.
“can you believe it Kat?!”
And I was like “Yes, yes I can actually”
because it’s incredible how often this happens for both me and for my clients!
I absolutely love it every single time!
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?
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, setting goals is paramount to Taking Flight in business!
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.
I mean, 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.
Then 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.
So, step 2 action item is to: pick your destination!
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' with an In-Flight Audit
Ok, so by Step 3 you should have a clear destination (aka goal) of where you’re going, and be confident you can achieve your goal, so now it’s time for a “In-Flight Audit”
Auditing your "magic metrics" so that you know where your starting point is and can get clear in your Travel Plan requirements.
I feel like this part is pretty simple…
When we’re planning a trip, it’s one thing to know where we want to end up with our Travel Plan - but don’t we also need to know what city we are starting in, so we can set our Travel Plan in motion?
It’s no different when you are wanting to Take Flight in your business - you need to know where things are currently at, so you can work out what needs to be done to get you to where you want to be.
I find most small business owners skip this step.
(In my experience it's because they’re unsure how to work out or they are scared of the numbers)
So, here are some of the things I recommend you audit.
What is the amount of your sales?
What are your expenses?
What is leftover in profit every time you sell something?
How many do you then need to sell to make your goal?
How many customers or leads do you currently have?
How many people visit your website/sales page?
How many people are on your email list or database?
- How much can you afford to pay to acquire a customer?
And going forward: how will you track your progress with these key numbers?
Which specific things you audit, really depends on what your goal is, and what type of business you have. But, these are generalisations so that you can work out how much fuel you have for your flight.
Numbers are everything!
They tell us what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change, to fuel your travel.
So the Step 3 action step is to do an In-Flight Audit…
Then, once you’ve done it ask yourself:
- What is it telling you?
- What’s working well that can stay?
- Where are the biggest red flags that show some maintenance needs to happen?
Step 4. Create a Travel Plan
Now that we are confident in where we are going, and know where we are at, 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!
But it pays to do your ground work and spend adequate time creating at least a rough route plan, so that you have enough fuel for your flight.
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 the step by step In-Flight Framework™ Program.
But, if you’ve got no other option than to plan your route yourself, here’s what is absolutely essential to include in it:
What is your Airline 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!
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?
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 In- Flight Framework™ 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.
I hope you enjoyed my 6 steps for Taking Flight in Your Business
I know there is a lot to them!
But hey, that's business...
'Taking Flight' in business doesn't happy overnight, and it isn't for the faint of heart.
These 6 steps can be simplified even more into 3 phases your business will need to move through:
Steps 1- 4 form what I refer to as The Strategy/Foundation Phase
Step 5 form The Build Phase and
Step 6 forms The Grow Phase
These are the 3 phases I take people through in my In-Flight Framework™, with each and every step broken down into bite sized actionable pieces, templates and cheat sheets.
I hope this has helped you identify where your own Flight Path might need some improvement, to help you get better results in your business.
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).