Will It Fly by Pat Flynn

Just as a paper airplane needs wings to fly, a project needs wings to be successful. This summary will give you wings.

Does your idea have merit? Will it succeed in the market you’re trying to serve, or will it just be a waste of time and resources? Is it a good idea for you and the life you want to live?

In other words, will it fly?

You have an idea, or maybe a few hundred. They could be new, or old, or scrawled on the back of a napkin in the bottom of your gym bag.

Good ideas are common, but those who are willing to take action and execute those ideas are far more rare. There are many reasons for this. Maybe you don’t know where to begin. Maybe your fear of failure outweighs your fear of not getting started. Maybe you’re just not really sure if it’s going to work.

It doesn’t matter what the reason is, from this point forward you must make a commitment to take action.

John F. Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

In other words, a sure way to predict the future is to take no action at all. When you do nothing, you get nothing.

In order for a business to become successful, it takes more than simply coming up with the right idea. It takes good execution, design, marketing, copywriting, and more. However, even the best of those things won’t do much if the idea isn’t good.

That’s why we need to ensure that your idea has what it takes to be successful.

This summary is divided into five different sections, each of which will guide you through the validation of your next business idea.

The first part is Mission Design, and it is the most important section. In it, we will ensure your idea aligns with and supports your target goals.

Part two is called the Development Lab. Here, we will uncover important details about your target idea that you haven’t thought about yet.

Part three is the Flight Planning stage. This is where you will assess the current conditions of the market that you’re entering, so you can see what and who you’re up against.

Part four is the Flight Simulator. Here, you will combine everything you’ve learned to validate and test your idea with a small segment of your target market.

The last part, All Systems Go, is where you will do some final analysis to make sure that you’re ready to move forward with your idea. You’ll also get some helpful insight on your next moves and how you can take a lot of this information forward with you.

Part 1: Mission Design

When you choose to live the life of an entrepreneur, you choose a path of freedom. You choose to live life on your own terms and you can shape it into whatever you want it to be. In fact, everyone is capable of this freedom, but it is the entrepreneur who has mentally turned off autopilot and has taken control of his or her own future.

Building a successful business is not synonymous to building a successful life. It is when your idea supports your lifestyle goals that it becomes worth exploring.

The purpose of Mission Design is to help you understand what your goals are in all areas of your life and help you determine whether or not your target idea supports them. How your target idea will perform in the market means nothing if you can’t validate how it can support you first.

The truth is, if you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, your energy will eventually fizzle out. Understanding your goals and the reason why you do what you do will motivate you and more importantly, it will keep you going when times get tough during your business journey.

The Airport Test:

What would need to be happening in your life five years from now that would make you say “Things could not get better!” ?

Step 1: Take out a piece of paper and divide it into four quadrants.

Step 2: Define the four most important categories of your life. They could be anything from friends, family, finances, health, professional, or music. Write them on the top of four quadrants of your page.

Step 3: Determine why life is awesome five years from now. Focus on one section at a time.

When you’ve filled your piece of paper, examine everything you’ve written down. This defines who you want to become and it will be the foundation for many decisions that you make from here.

Now you know where you want to be. How does the business idea you have in your head right now fit into your future self?

You can either decide to move forward with the idea you have or, if it doesn’t fit into who you want to become, you can start over with something else.

The History Test:

Step 1: Find a blank piece of paper.

Step 2: Write down the first job you ever had. Beneath that, write when you did it.

Step 3: Write down three things you enjoyed about it.

Step 4: Write down one favourite memory.

Step 5: Write down three things that you didn’t like about it.

Step 6: Rate the experience based on how much you enjoyed it.

Step 7: Repeat the process for at least two other life experiences.

Look at what you wrote down. Do you notice any patterns? Think about these questions specifically:

What one or two things seem to motivate you the most about the work that you do?

How much is your answer to #1 reflected in what you do now?

How can your future business be shaped into one that allows you to enjoy your work and continue to stay motivated?

Determine if there are any red flags or reasons to look for a new idea.

The Shark Bait Test

Email 10 friends and colleagues and ask them to identify your superpowers. If you don’t know what your strengths are, you’ll never be able to harness them.

You may not get the answers you expect, but whatever response you get will be useful.

Folding Your Wings

Take the piece of paper from The Airport Test and fold it into a paper airplane to keep as a symbol of your “why.” A plane symbolises flight, movement and innovation. It also symbolises freedom.

Here, we will take your target idea through a series of exercises to help you fully understand exactly what it is.

Mind Mapping:

Set a timer for 10 minutes and then write down as many thoughts or ideas related to your target idea as you can. Do not edit, delete, remove or move anything around. No matter what, just keep going until your time is up. Now, organise the ideas. There is no correct way to do it; do whatever feels right to you. Next, prune your tree. Remove the ideas that don’t really belong. What you’ll have left is what you need in order to move forward.