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Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money Paperback – February 1, 2016
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Losing your job can be the best thing that ever happens to you. In a short period of time, former employee-turned-entrepreneur Pat Flynn has unlocked the keys to recurring, sustainable income. His new book is inspiring, but that isn't the point--instead of just cheering you on, it will take you by the hand and show you exactly what you need to do before launching your business idea. --Chris Guillebeau, NYT bestselling author of The $100 Startup
Being an entrepreneur is scary. Especially in the beginning when you feel lonely, lost, and wondering: What if my idea fails? In Will it Fly?, Pat Flynn shows you step-by-step how to figure out if your new idea will be successful before you go all in. This book is an absolute must-read for any entrepreneur looking to start a new business, enter a new market, or launch a new product. I 100% recommend reading, and re-reading this book. --Ryan Levesque, #1 National Best-Selling Author, Ask
This is the book I wish I'd read when I began my entrepreneurial journey. Its simple, practical, real-world advice would have saved me tons of time, money, and grief on the road to success. It's now my #1 recommendation for anyone who wants to launch a new product or business. --Michael Hyatt, New York Times Bestselling Author
About the Author
Pat Flynn is a thought leader in the areas of online entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and lifestyle businesses. He is routinely celebrated for his transparent leadership style and authentic principles. Pat overcame career adversity at an early age by finding his own path and true passion. Despite his success in business, Pat's greatest joys are spending time with his family and friends as well as helping inspire and educate others on how to succeed with their own entrepreneurial careers.
Pat has been featured in The New York Times and Forbes Magazine for his accomplishments, and has recently been enjoying talking about his story and business strategies in front of large crowds at various conferences and events all around the world. His top-ranked business podcast, The Smart Passive Income Podcast, has earned over 25 million downloads and continues to inspire people as they work through their online business journey today.
Pat is also an advisor to Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building schools in the developing world, as well as companies such as LeadPages and ConvertKit.
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The author, Pat Flynn is not another founder of a “Unicorn”, a company worth over a billion dollars, who is sharing his insights on how to start another Tesla, Facebook, or PayPal. Rather he is a young, married, father of two, who lost his job in the down-turn, and became an entrepreneur. His book is down-to-earth, his examples are folksy and his insights sound. He provides a step-by-step guide to ascertaining if the business you are thinking of starting “will fly.” There are exercises for every step, and they will provide important insight into your new business idea.
You will need to invest some time and effort in this preliminary process, but it certainly beats losing money, losing face, and losing credibility; those inevitably follows from not checking if your idea has potential.
The first section is the first step you should take as you think about your new business. This section is titled: Mission Design, and poses the starting question everyone should ask – will starting this business allow me to be the person I wish to be? This smacks of the question a counsellor might ask, that many would answer – I need money right now, and I will have plenty of time to worry about the quality of life when I cruise the Mediterranean on my yacht.
“If you don’t have a passion for what you are doing, your energy will eventually fizzle out. It always does,” Flynn notes.
Entrepreneurs’ earnings will be closely related to how much they care about the people they are serving, and the services they offer. Will it accord you the lifestyle you want, the relationships you value, and self-fulfilment that is lasting? Remember, you haven’t invested one cent in this business so far, and if it just isn’t you, then you are well advised to keep looking for something that is. After all, “a successful entrepreneur is one who is both successful in business and in life,” Flynn asserts.
The next step is “Flight Planning.” Besides knowing where you want to go to, pilots have to determine the best way to get there safely, comfortably, and on time. “NASA has never launched a mission just because it sounded like a good idea, and neither should you,” Flynn writes. This section is your market research and the exercises Flynn recommends, can easily be adapted to any market you wish to serve.
This will take you some time, but the tools and the guidance are all in the book. There really is no hurry to get started right away, as futurist Joel Barker says: “Speed is only useful if you’re running in the right direction.”
As part of your Flight Planning, you will want to uncover important information about your ideas, that you have not even thought about. In this phase you need to assess the current conditions of the market you are aiming at, see who is already there, and what and who you are up against. You will also be able to identify the part of the market you are best able to service, and the best way to target the market. (Hint: how are the successful in this market targeting it? How are the less successful targeting it?)
If there are already others in the arena you wish to enter, you have an advantage over everyone else who is already there. You have a live laboratory of what is missing, which is critical because it suggests opportunities that exist.
Flynn provides guidance through a few targeted exercises to identify the dissatisfaction and struggles your target customers experience. This will enable you to enter the market and serve it better than the incumbents. Focusing on a small market is a much under-estimated advantage – there are riches in the niches.
You need to keep this image in mind (and make the translation to your product or service.) If you are a musician with a thousand true fans, they will purchase anything and everything you can produce. “…they’ll drive hundreds of miles to watch your next gig. They read every post, watch every video, and listen to every word of your podcast because it’s a part of their daily ritual. They are the ones who have truly fallen in love with what you have to offer the world, and will always be there to support you.”
After you have completed the Flight Plan, it is time to enter the Flight Simulator. Here you can amalgamate what you have discovered in your research, and begin the process of validating and trying your ideas on a small, safe, segment of the market you are targeting. This activity of validating alone will distinguish you from most entrepreneurs, who never take the trouble to go through this stage with real customers. With Flynn to guide you, you will attempt to make your initial sales to this small, safe, segment of the market. Real validation! Going big and loud with the wrong offer has caused harm, that many entrepreneurs never recover from.
If you haven’t taken any meaningful action towards your new venture because you don’t know where to start, or what process you need to follow, you are not alone. No one wants to let themselves or others down. But as 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.”
I like the light tone of this book, it is an easy read, neither preachy nor academic, and very practical. The exercises are easily accomplished, with less effort and more pleasure than you expect.
Readability Light +---- Serious
Insights High --+-- Low
Practical High +---- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
Although Pat had explained, in his book launch strategy podcasts, how he was planning to get many positive reviews using the community he created to help him with the book (a promotion strategy I find a bit questionable but one that obviously has worked) and he had also said many times that it's ok to reuse material because "people will pay for convenience," I still believed that the book would deliver something new, but when I finally read it I was disappointed. Most of the content was recycled from his podcasts. The book's bottom line is "hey make sure you test your idea and that the people you tested with vote with their dollars", that's pretty much it.
Something that bothered me were the links in the book and even in the online exercises to promote it in social media, it felt like one of those e-books loaded with affiliate marketing links, but there is also an innovative marketing tactic to learn from here and is not in the book, it is about the book. Pat is really using the book to launch and to entice subscribers to his new venture, his new online course venue (Pat explained it in his podcast). This whole "Will it Fly" book is about testing and/or promoting/building his new business idea. Nothing wrong with that but it feels a touch deceiving. Sorry Pat, just trying to be honest here. Most of Pat's income comes from affiliate marketing and sponsorships and his next logical step was to create his own products, courses in this case. Pat's marketing genius at work. I learned more from this innovative marketing strategy than anything else in the book.
To be fair if you never listened to Pat's podcasts or read his blog or have no clue about online business this book will inspire you and take you in the right direction but if you have been following Pat for a while, like I have, you'll be disappointed.
Hope this helps.
I love what this book represents & that's the way that Pat does business. Authentic, genuine, passionate, compassionate, giving, & with authority bc he's practicing what he preaches. Pat seriously, thank you for being you & sharing your gifts with the world & our entrepreneurial community. The world is absolutely a better place with you here giving to all of us.
Oh, and be sure to make the paper airplane when the exercise comes up. The little kid in you will thank me later. And if you're anything like me, it's a nice transition from the daily hustle of building a business... ;)
Cheers my friend!
~ Kyle, CEO (Chief Experiment Officer)