05 Feb Four business lessons from Pete’s Paper Airplanes
Four Business Lessons from Pete’s Paper Airplanes
BY PETE ADAMS
Pete’s Paper Airplanes proves to be a building block for future endevaours
Starting a business is tough.
Many factors contribute to the overall success or failure of a business. When I was in third grade, I started my first business and learned lessons that would enable me to help other businesses with Adams + Swann.
While I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, in third grade, a craze swept my school that I capitalized on
And the craze was custom paper airplanes.
Up to this point, most of the paper airplanes were your standard paper airplane that produced unpredictable flight patterns and results. In turn, I was fascinated on how to make a better airplane, so I went to the library and found a book on how to make all sorts of paper airplanes.
With this education, I was able to learn various techniques to produce airplanes that could loop, swirl, fly high or fly low – and be more consistent. This caught on, and my friends at school began to ask me to make airplanes like I had.
Looking back, I saw a business opportunity and began to charge $.25 for each airplane I made. I sold dozens of airplanes and racked up quite the cash haul until my third grade teacher, Mrs. Trotter, shut me down. With this in mind, below are the four lessons I learned while starting my first business.
Know Your Market
First, I liked paper airplanes and figured my friends would as well.
Instead of trying to sell items the market was not asking for, I worked hard to find the best product the market was missing. I did his research, which my friends weren’t willing to do, tested and retested various paper airplane models, and brought to market the very best performing options.
When starting a business, look at the problems you can solve in the marketplace and produce a product you know will sell. I’ve seen many businesses fail because they have a great idea the market does not agree with or align with their needs.
Know Your Margins
In third grade, I was selling paper airplanes which took minutes to make with paper that cost almost nothing to obtain. This mix of low input costs and high-skilled service always produces high margin products. The value was not the paper, it was the skill to transform the paper into a product that would thrill and entertain.
People will pay for a product they love, one that brings them happiness, or one which saves time or money. Price your product inside the ability of your market to purchase with good margins and you have a recipe for success.
While 25 cents does not sound like mich, it was the cost of an ice cream at lunch at this given time. So your customers will always have a choice on how to spend their money, make sure you are providing value at a healthy margin.
Market and Sell Like a Madman
When I brought the paper airplanes to market, I only started with the three or four products that were the very best. I made several samples to show friends in order to generate interest.
Unknowingly, I used the FAB model (Features, Advantages, Benefits) to sell airplanes that offered custom flight patterns, design, and performance. This showcase allowed for order-taking and the opportunity to bring the product to a willing marketplace.
Be ready to market, advertise, and sell, showing the FAB of your product or service.
Look Out for Threats to Your Business
As I began to really get rolling, the paper airplane business was becoming successful.
However, I did not anticipate regulatory changes that affected his business. Mrs. Trotter was a wonderful teacher, but she put an end to my burgeoning empire because kids were spending their lunch money on paper airplanes.
This also correlated to rowdy paper airplanes flying around all the time, which is not conducive to a good learning environment. Once these issues came to light, Pete’s Paper Airplanes was shutdown fast.
Always look out for threats to your business. These can arrive from the competition that delivers a better product offering, government regulatory control or unaccounted taxes or costs. Be sure to put a game plan together before starting a business that will allow you to thrive.