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Obey the Rules of Proportion

When a business is just starting out, it’s small with just you or another person in the cockpit guiding a single engine plane. Your engine is probably a marketing engine, a Facebook page, and maybe some word of mouth. Your wings are small, but effective enough to get you off the ground. You offer one or two products or services.

Your single marketing engine is enough to move a few products and put some cash in the bank. The fuel tank is small because your plane is small. The tank holds enough fuel in case of an emergency.

As the business grows, you need to build capacity. Your first hire may be a personal assistant to free up your time. A new hire increases overhead, making the body of the plane larger. The cost of the hire may put the plane at risk. But you justified the hire when you considered the amount of time it would allow you to contribute to the size of the wings or thrust of the engine. Your plane got a little larger but so did the wings and engine.

Congratulation, your plane is growing. Now that your plane is larger, you’ll need to increase the size of your fuel tanks. You’ll want 6-months of fuel to cover operating expenses in a rainy day fund in case of emergency.


Next, you may decide to hire a full-time marketing person. You can justify it because they add a second engine to grow revenue. The plane has gotten larger but it’s flying well.

You continue to hire team members for, product, production, marketing, sales and administrative help. Because you are hiring team members proportionally by keeping an eye on overhead, the organization grows with a limited amount of risk.


The business keeps growing when you take the six steps to grow your plane. The steps themselves lead to growth while helping you manage that growth.


Unfortunately, many leaders mismanage growth. New hires are added before the right and left engine can support the added weight. Other times, leaders wait too long to hire, resulting in lost potential and an unhappy customer.

The reason most small businesses fail is not because people didn’t want their products or services. They failed because they didn’t have a simple plan that made growing their business intuitive. When you don’t know how to build your airplane, it won’t fly. Or worse, it will fly a little while and then crash.

Businesses usually fail for one of six reasons

1. Failed to unify team around economic objectives

2. Unclear marketing message

3. Sales conversations didn’t optimize results

4. Products weren’t profitable or in demand

5. Bloated Overhead

6. Business ran out of money

You can easily avoid these six flaws of small businesses if you master the six steps that build your business like an airplane.


Learn the six steps in Small Business Flight School.

To your success!

Wes Legg

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