Around 65% of small businesses fail within the first ten years. Donald Miller’s Small Business Flight School exists so your business doesn’t have to be one of them. Small Business Flight School provides a step-by-step playbook to grow your small business and keep operations running smoothly, even when things don’t go as planned.
Why is it called a ‘flight school’?
Toward the beginning of growing his own business, Donald Miller realized that the six parts a plane needs to fly safely are very similar to the six elements a business needs to run smoothly.
He uses that comparison to teach the six steps small businesses can take to professionalize their operations and grow their businesses.
Small Business Warning Signs
Most small businesses don’t fail because they have a bad product or service. Often it is because they enter the dreaded S curve. The business is growing, but without a clear plan, the pieces of the airplane start to grow disproportionally. Before you know it, the lopsided plane is spiraling out of control.
Do any of these describe you?
- You spend more time putting out fires and attending meetings than participating in the aspects of your business you enjoy.
- You feel like something is keeping the business from growing but you aren’t sure what.
- Running a business is keeping you from enjoying your business.
If you see yourself in any of the statements above, you are likely already navigating through the S curve of business.
What is the Small Business Flight School?
The Small Business Flight School guides you through the creation of a small business growth plan. In it, entrepreneurs will learn the six steps to professionalize and grow their small businesses while receiving support to put the steps into action.
Program participants will receive:
- A proven plan to double their revenue.
- Group coaching calls with Business Made Simple experts.
- A community of other growth-focused entrepreneurs.
With this program, small business owners will be able to completely overhaul their business in about six months. The content and community will continue to be available to them beyond the six months, as long as they maintain a Business Made Simple membership.
Who is Small Business Flight School for?
Small Business Flight School is for entrepreneurs who have about 5 hours a week they can dedicate to professionalizing their business over the next six months.
This program can work for businesses of any size in any industry. Whether you are just starting or are looking to scale, the six steps taught in Small Business Flight School can help you set your business up for success.
What will Small Business Flight School cover?
The curriculum for Small Business Flight School mirrors the content in Donald Miller’s new book How to Grow Your Small Business, released in March 2023.
Here are the six elements that a business needs to run well:
Element 1: Leadership
Leadership is the cockpit of the plane. A good leader must know how to cast a clear vision for where the team is headed by communicating these three components:
- A compelling mission statement that includes three economic priorities, a deadline, and a clear connection to a greater purpose.
- Key characteristics each team member should embody.
- Critical actions each team member can take daily to keep the organization moving toward its financial goals.
Element 2: Marketing
Planes have two engines that work together to give the plane enough thrust for lift-off and continued forward motion.
In the flight plan, the right engine is the marketing engine.
To successfully market products or services, business owners need to clarify their marketing message. All marketing should clearly explain how the company’s product solves an ideal client’s problem, helping them survive and thrive.
Good marketing isn’t about coercion. It is about clarity. Using clear messaging to explain their offerings will increase sales and cash flow, accelerating business growth.
Element 3: Sales
The left engine, the sales engine, also contributes to the thrust of the airplane. In this section, entrepreneurs learn to use the same elements of story that are found in the StoryBrand Framework to create a million-dollar sales message.
Instead of talking solely about the product, the million-dollar sales pitch framework positions the customer as the hero, the business as the guide, and the product or service as the solution to their customer’s problem.
Element 4: Products
The products and services a business offers are the wings. In this step, business owners learn how to identify which products are most profitable and in demand and then focus their efforts on those products.
This section of the book provides:
- A framework for ranking existing products to see which is most profitable.
- A product brief template to determine if a new idea is worth pursuing.
- Ideas for optimizing products to increase your revenue without increasing your workflow.
By optimizing their offerings, businesses can grow their wings without bloating the overhead.
Element 5: Overhead and Operations
The fifth step is to analyze the overhead and operations of the business. This is the body of the plane. To keep a plane in the air, it is important to keep the overhead as slim and streamlined as possible.
In most businesses, the biggest expense is labor. Often, when companies are struggling, the first thing a consultant will do is cut positions to lighten the overhead and keep the business in flight.
Although it is sometimes necessary to downsize, Donald Miller teaches business owners a different method. Instead of immediately cutting positions, he encourages leaders to organize their teams around a common financial goal.
Although it is sometimes necessary to downsize, Donald Miller teaches business owners a different method. Instead of immediately cutting positions, he encourages leaders to organize their team around a common financial goal.
He outlines five types of meetings business leaders should hold to mobilize the team, raise morale, and increase productivity. Once each person on the team is clear about how they contribute to the company’s overall goal, momentum will increase and the rest of the plane will be able to grow to support the body and keep flying smoothly.
Element 6: Cash Flow
The last element of a successful business is cash flow. This is the fuel tank of the plane. As Miller says, “Without fuel, it doesn’t matter how big and beautiful your plane is, it will crash.”
Since many entrepreneurs would rather make money than monitor it, he teaches a clear cash flow system that any small business owner can implement.
He uses five checking accounts, one for each aspect of his business:
- Operating Expenses
- Investment Holding
By keeping everything in separate accounts, he can quickly analyze the health of his business by simply logging into his online banking program.
For business owners who struggle to understand profit and loss statements or want to be able to make financial decisions quickly, this method is a game changer.
These six steps for growing your small business offer a very robust plan to help any small business owner optimize their operations.
Donald Miller’s Small Business Flight School Review
If you are a business owner looking to grow or scale your business, we highly recommend taking advantage of Small Business Flight School.
The content is mission-critical and having the opportunity to learn alongside other business owners and entrepreneurs is invaluable. The community aspect and live coaching sessions are reasons enough for me to confidently recommend this program to any small business owner.
Enroll in Small Business Flight School today!
It’s better to learn with a community.
When you can learn within a cohort or community of people on a similar journey, you are more likely to complete the material and related tasks. If you know that others will be checking in on you and holding you accountable for your commitment, it motivates you to follow through.
A recent study by Learnopoly found that most self-paced courses have completion rates as low as 3% while cohort-based courses have a completion rate of almost 90%.
So, if you want to set your business up for success, join Small Business Flight School and take advantage of the extra motivation that comes with learning alongside like-minded peers.
Small Business Flight School provides a practical small business growth plan that works. Enroll in Small Business Flight School today so that you can be part of the 35% of small businesses that make it.
Work With A StoryBrand Certified Guide
So many business leaders fall in love with StoryBrand but get overwhelmed when it comes to making it work for their website. Since 2018, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses implement StoryBrand on their websites and marketing materials.
Schedule a call with our team by clicking the form below. We’d love to chat about helping you leverage the power of StoryBrand.