The fate of the general aviation industry lies squarely in the hands of the local and national flight schools that are located throughout the country. Many of these schools run super small operations with one maybe two CFIs and just as many aircraft in their fleet. The reality is, growth is hard to come by in this industry and we set out today to lay out some best practices to show you how to grow your flight school. To generate this growth we focus on three areas People, Process & Technology.
A common practice throughout the general aviation industry is to have a presence at local and national aviation events. This is a tried and true method of getting your school's name out there and networking at the local level. The downside of this approach is scalability.
Events end, people go home and in most cases they may not remember that handsome flight instructor they met at the safety expo. The fact of the matter is that in today's "internet of things" age your prospects will spend far more time online researching and asking questions about lying than down at the local fly in. This is why flight schools need to shift their focus to the web where they can create vast amounts of digital content. There is a two fold advantage by producing your own content, one is that it is a way for you to engage with your prospects in an educational way and two these assets never take a vacation. Imagine hiring someone at your school, who never took a break or vacation and was constantly out there promoting our school. That is exactly what the creation of digital assets do for your school.
Another key to scaling your flight school's business is to understand what is driving your business. Ask yourself, where is the bulk of my new student pilots coming from? Where am I having the most traction or conversations about flying? If social media is working, double down on that front, same goes for your blog. If the pay per clicks or snail mail mailers are not working pull back on those efforts. Its all about working smarter not harder.
Digital Assets a.k.a Content
Content can take many forms. Pilots love checklists, so make a checklist of how to become a pilot. Teach folks about the basics of aerodynamic forces. It is through this education that you empower and enable your prospect.
Creating content and engaging prospects with an educational approach is a rock solid start to growing your flight school business. However, if you fail to invest in your people, processes and technology you are doomed to fail.
As a flight school owner ask yourself who is accountable for admissions at your school? Enable this person (it may be you) to do the very best job they can at driving traffic to your school. Ultimately, if you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers, from there the business will take care of itself.
Related Article: How Important Admission Training is For Flight School Business
Double down on the processes that work for your team and scrub the ones that are inefficient time sucks. Its important to figure out what your enrollment/admission process looks like from your prospects web experience to coming in to your school personally. No matter the channel in which a prospective student makes there way to to your school, providing best in breed customer satisfaction is your mission. SOLVE FOR THE CUSTOMER!
How do we accomplish all of this? Good question. We believe the answer comes in the form of cutting edge technology that will empower your team. Look into investing into software that will help optimize your team's precious time. Allowing them to get out from behind the desk and spend more time in the air and with your students. Introducing technology also allows you to measure the progress of your team and of your business. Are you still using sticky notes and excel sheets? STOP, it very well could be costing you customers.