Will your business idea work? Will it in the market, or will you end up wasting your time and money? Is it really a good idea for YOU? Pat Flynn’s best-selling book answers these questions.
The book is broken down into 5 parts:
1. Mission Design: Align your idea with your goals.
2. Development Lab: Uncover important details.
3. Flight Planning: Assess the market conditions.
4. Flight Simulator: Validate and test your idea.
5. All Systems Go: A final analysis.
Pat Flynn – Will It Fly?
Pat Flynn is a well-known and respected 32 year old guy from Southern California who makes a living on the internet. His latest book Will It Fly shows us how to test our next business idea, so we don’t waste our time and money. The process is divided into five steps:
STEP 1:Mission Design
Align your idea with your goals. James sent an email to Pat. He said “hey, Pat I currently generate over twenty thousand dollars per month in recurring revenue but here’s the thing I am not happy”. This is why mission design is so important why put everything you’ve got into a business idea only to be unfulfilled. Many entrepreneurs strive for freedom and the ability to live life on their own terms but many forget to align their business ventures with their goals and values. How do you know if your business idea will truly fulfill.
Lets check by theAirport Test. Pretend you’ve climbed into a time machine and gone five years into the future. You catch up with a friend for a cup of coffee before your next flight and your friend asks you how’s life treating you these days. You respond with amazing, life could not get any better and you really mean it. The key question to ask yourself is what’s happening in your life five years from now that makes you respond like this. Write your answer down and see what would truly fulfill you at that point during your life.
If you’re still stuck then meet the History Test. Write down three experiences you’ve had such as previous jobs, roles you’ve had or sports you’ve participated. In what are three things you enjoyed about it the most and three things you didn’t. Can you see any patterns emerging. This will help give you some direction as to what will fulfill.
You the final exercise is the Shark Bait Test. Imagine yourself walking up to Kevin O’Leary, a multi-millionaire and investor from the shark tank. You want him to invest in your business idea. He looks you directly in the eyes and says why should I be interested in working with you and not someone else? What makes you so special? What he’s really asking is what can you bring to the table that no one else can. What is your unfair advantage. So for example imagine two different people selling the same idea: A brand new flavor of wine-chocolate. Ruby has been working for a wine company for nine years and loves chocolate. Danny has also been working with wine for nine years and loves chocolate. Additionally Danny has grown up working in a family-owned wine business and his brother Willie happens to own a chocolate factory and there’s many valuable connections within the chocolate industry. If you were Kevin O’Leary who would you hire. Danny is the clear winner because he has something that the competitor doesn’t. If you’re struggling to work out what your unfair advantages then send a message to 10 friends or colleagues and ask them what unique trait or skill they think you have. These tests will help to clarify your business idea so that it aligns with your goals and values.
STEP 2: Development Lab
Don’t waste time creating a logo or choosing a business name until you fully understand what your idea does, who it is for and how is different to others. This is where your focus should be to better understand your idea. Pat suggests brainstorming using a mind map. You’ve probably done some of these before. Get a piece of paper out and some colorful pens and pencils set a time limit of 15 minutes and just go nuts take note of anything related to your idea. At the end begin eliminating anything that doesn’t fit well with your idea. The next step is to come up with just one sentence that describes your idea. To begin with you can write one page then reduce it to one paragraph by cutting out the unimportant bits and then finally reduce it to one sentence of the stuff that really matters. Here’s an example from the book “food trucker is an online resource that provides quality content a connected community and support for everyone interested in starting and running a successful food truck business”. Lastly it’s important to get feedback on your idea. Ask 10 people what they think of your idea. Be open to what they have to say and listen carefully and only take their feedback if they show your respect. Go back to your mind map and add anything that you might have missed based on the feedback you got. You should now have a much better understanding of your idea.
STEP 3: Flight Planning: Assess the market conditions
Success doesn’t require you to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. 1000 true fans is all you need to run a very successful business. A true fan is someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. If you had 1000 true fans who each paid you 100 dollars a year then you would be making 100,000 dollars per year. A market map will help you define it.
Places: people and products that already serve your target audience.
You’ll get an idea of the environment you’re about to enter which will help you launch grow and monetize your business. Let’s break it down places, where are your target audience hanging out. Do they hang out in forums or some forums more popular than others. What blogs do your target audience interact with most, what keywords are they typing in on Google and what about YouTube, what about Amazon, what social media platform do they prefer. People have a look at how other people are serving your target audience. Find out how your audience behaves what they respond to and what they ignore. Search for people and pages on twitter, linkedin, instagram, periscope and buzzsumo.
Products: What products are your target audience willing to pay for?
This is an important question, try heading to amazon.com and typing and products related to your niche. For example you could search for fly fishing and see what products people are buying in this niche. This will give you an idea of what is selling. So you could potentially make an even better product now.
Pat suggests doing this is with the customer plan which is his version of defining a customer avatar. P.L.A.N’s an acronym for Problems, Language, Anecdotes and Needs. Let’s break it down.
Problems: A business is essentially selling a solution to a customers. You can find out your customers problems by asking new questions through surveys, one-on-one conversations and paid advertising.
Language: Understand the language that your target customer uses to communicate and how do they describe their goals and what esoteric words do they use to share their pains and struggles. Learn to talk like them so you can easily connect with them and build trust.
Anecdotes: We as humans are virtually programmed right from the start to tune in and listen to stories. Find stories about your target customer. As you read more and more you’ll be immersing yourself in what it feels like to be in your customers choose.
Needs: Based on your research what do your customers need. A juggler might be having trouble juggling. He needs coaching therefore you could potentially provide coaching as a paid solution.
Now to complete your flight planning choose just one solution to one problem then sit on the idea for a day create another mind map and one sentence that describes your idea.
STEP 4: Flight simulator: validate and test your idea.
Validation is crucial to help you understand. If people will pay for your solutions before you even spend your time and money creating them. Tim Ferriss author of the 4-hour workweek popularized a method of validation called Testing the Mirrors. He used Google AdWords to place an advertisement for a product and track the clicks through to the sales page but here’s the catch when users prospects to click the Buy Now button they were prompted with an out-of-stock message. But every click was tracked to see if people actually wanted to buy these products. Pat provides us with a basic formula for validation. Get in front of an audience. It helps if you have your own following but don’t worry if you don’t you can get in front of an audience using targeted advertising, guest posting posters, forums, groups, crowd funding and more step to hyper target. Once you gain access to an audience get people to self-identify as someone who wants or needs your particular solution. Don’t reveal your solution instantly but instead ask them questions or propose a relevant scenario that elicits a yes response from them. Forms of hand raisers include clicking on links or irrelevant advertisement or downloading something while subscribing to an email list. Have a look at what a website does when people sign up to its email list. They raise their hand for a particular problem. They’re having allowing to eventually target them with a specific solution. Share your solution before you do. Take a minute to learn about them first then tell about who you are to be honest about what you’re up to. Let them know you’re in the process of validating your idea. They’ll trust you more if you’re honest upfront. Once you’ve established them, ground pitch your solution. You’re not asking for a payment just yet but you’re seeing how they respond. You may feel uncomfortable doing this but with your honest and with your prospect there’s nothing to worry about if your product isn’t ready. You may ask for pre-order session. You can use a solution like gumroad.com to allow prospects to pre-order your digital products. If a prospect has previously expressed interest in your product then make the transaction and then follow them up with an email or phone call asking them about the feedback. You will be receiving the valuable reviews. As you go about your business don’t forget these crucial five things. 1. Appreciate the small wins along the way. 2. Get support by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. 3. Treat your customers like gold. 4. Remember why you’re doing, what you’re doing and 5. Enjoy the journey that wraps it up.
Also published on Medium.