5 ways businesses and planes are the same

After participating in a number of coaching programs for aspiring entrepreneurs, I’ve begun to notice certain patterns amongst the new business owners who become six-figure entrepreneurs and a different one for the ones that fail to take off.

I’ve even had a front row seat to watching a well-known business coach go from making $400 per month to almost seven figures in a year.  It was an incredible story to watch unfold.

There are five elements that all successful entrepreneurs have in common, and they ring oddly similar to the endeavor of being a pilot, with the plane being the business.

Depending on where you are on the runway, you will either take longer or shorter to take off and land safely.

Here are telltale signs that a beginner entrepreneur will quickly make it to their destination:

1. They have a clear destination

Let’s face it, if you don’t know where you are going, any sky will take you there.  The truth is that, just like planes, entrepreneurs need a business objective.  Without one, how can they know when they’ve finally succeeded?

As we all learned in business school, objectives need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Ac
hievable, Realistic, Time-bound).


2. They are the first on the runway

We are all on some spot on the runway, or completely off of it.  In the group programs I was in, this was made very clear to me.

Some women there were way ahead of me.  They already had a website, an online brand presence in social media and an engaged list of readers. All they had was a little bit of runway left for them to really take off. 

But the absolute worst thing that you can do is compare yourself to others in your group. Instead, acknowledge where you are on the runway, and focus on your own path and trajectory.

Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this world…if you do so, you are insulting yourself.

-Bill Gates

3. They have a crew

Planes need engineers to get built, a pilot and a co-pilot, and an entire crew of people in order to make sure passengers have a pleasant experience.

Successful entrepreneurs often make it look like they are doing it all alone, but they are definitely not.
They have business coaches (the co-pilot). They have VAs, copywriters, designers, and everyone else (the on board crew) to make sure that all passengers are sitting in their upright position when needed.

Even in small planes, you still need a co-pilot or a team of engineers to help you take off and, don’t forget, land safely.


 4. They use a navigation system

The major problem I have seen with many business groups online for new coaches is that they don’t offer a marketing plan.  They drip-drop information in the form of modules.

If you need to write a marketing plan, start with this simple one that I learned from the PR pros: RACE (Research, Analyse, Communicate, Evaluate).

If you don’t research your target audience, you will be stuck and broke. How can you possibly know if they are willing to buy, if you don’t ask them?  How do you know how to communicate with them if you have never talked to them?

Again, create a navigation system; otherwise, you will just end up lost and asking random strangers for directions.



5. They have momentum for takeoff 

Just like a plane, new bosses need momentum to start making money. Planes use up most of their fuel during takeoff, and much the same can be said for an entrepreneur.

The beginning process requires a lot of energy, and some people will actually give up and go back to the gates many times before they are finally ready to go.  But the ones that gain momentum, and do make the run, end up in the air.


Photo by Viktor Hanacek


Being a beginner entrepreneur is not easy.  But then again, building a new plane from scratch is no simple task either.  The biggest lesson I ever learned from observing entrepreneurs launch is that everyone is on a different path in their own unique journey. And as the pilot of your own plane, it is best to focus on your own path, destination and passengers.  If you can do that, chances are you will take off, and you will land safely after all.

1 Comment

  • beth

    Reply Reply April 21, 2016

    Great analogy and article!

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