You have been told that the flight school business plan needs to be a long document. You imagine yourself writing pages and pages for several hours. If you have written a business plan before you know that this is not a pleasant task and, after you work for hours in it, you get proud for your accomplishment. However, when you get in front of investors, partners or bankers they just want to read a summary or view a presentation deck instead of reading your 200 pages plan.
Why I should create a traditional business plan when people doesn't want to read it?
How many business plans have you read before? Have you enjoyed reading them? Most business plan fail because they are written based on assumptions and not actual validation. Assumptions are a good way to start a business plan but you must validate the information in order to succeed. You should run one-on-one interviews with your current or potential students to validate your assumptions. Therefore, your business plan should be updated after you discover new information and should be a work-in-progress to adapt your service to student needs.
Not having clear the key elements for your business plan
It is crucial to understand what are the key elements you need to include in your flight school business plan. This will help you stay focused in the big picture and not get distracted with fancy details. Those key elements are:
- Ideal Student or Segments: You must identify your ideal customer. You might be told that flight training is for everyone but trying to go after everyone is not realistic. You must identify what segments are the ones you feel more comfortable trying to help. For example, young students who are eager to pursue a career in aviation or recreational pilots who want to fly his family over the weekends. Once you identify your segment they will give you an introduction of the problem you help them to solve.
- Problem: This is what you help your segment or ideal student to solve. You will need to understand what are the challenges for your segment and the reasons why they want to fly.
- Solution: It seems the easiest one: Flight training! But in reality your solution should be more aligned with your problem. A recreational pilot will need more time on the weekends and he might not be in a rush to complete his private certificate. However, a career oriented pilot has a need to do it fast, and at the lowest cost possible.
- Unique Value Proposition: In this section you must be the intersection of problem and solution. How you flight school differentiates from the other 5 in your area?
- Key Metrics (Goal): A plan without a goal is just a dream! You will need to set milestones and and implement a process to measure your progress.
- Marketing Channel: Your marketing channels are the path to attract those potential students. These channel are the ones you will promote your content to help your student to find you. There are many online and offline channels that could help you reach your audience.
Less is more - Single or Two pages business plan is enough!
Now that you have some idea have to put this plan together. You will need a framework or template the will put all the pieces in one place. After using many template from long to short format. I realize that the best options are a single o double page business plans! It sounds crazy but I found out that having one to two pages is the best approach to create and share your vision. These are my best two pick business plan frameworks:
The simple one but very powerful is the Lean Canvas this is a one page business plan that included all those key elements mentioned before and more.
The other option is The Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO), a two pages business plan that includes your core values, core focus, marketing strategy and 1, 3, 10 years goals.
Knowing the main reasons why a business plan fails gives you a better idea of what to avoid and what to do instead. The business plans have changed and they are expected to be concise, precise and complete; which is the reason of the importance of the tips presented previously. By applying these tweaks to your plan creation the success is closer to your flight school!