padraig-o-ceidighReilly remembers well a time travelling down from Dublin to Galway on an Aer Arann flight and sitting in the front seat beside the owner of the airline at that time, Pádraig Ó Céidigh.

Reilly had been going through a ropey spell trying to grow his business and he came straight out with it to Pádraig, a former EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

‘Pádraig how do you go about growing a business?

Pádraig, the consummate teacher, looked around for something to describe his response with.

‘Reilly, look out those windows there and tell me what you see.

‘I see two massive wings.’

Well, that’s the first component of growing a business and getting it airborne.

The wings of a plane represent your products and services. And without products and services, you don’t have a business because you have nothing to sell. You have no lift. It’s the wings, or your products and services, that gives a plane and a business ‘lift’ and gets it airborne.’

As he was speaking they could hear and feel a massive surge of noise and power and explosive movement underneath as the aircraft prepared for takeoff.

‘What you’re experiencing there Reilly is what we call in the aviation business, ‘thrust.’

‘In business, your marketing and sales are the thrust that drives your business forward and helps you arrive at your destination. Without thrust, your business is going nowhere.’

‘You can have the best wings or product in the world but it won’t take off without thrust or effective marketing.

‘Look beneath the floor there Reilly and tell me what you see.

‘I see big tanks, Padraig. I guess they’re the fuel tanks for carrying the petrol.

‘Spot on Reilly. That’s what we call the fuselage.

In business, the fuselage equates to your costs and your overheads. And both are constantly weighing your business down and dragging it toward the ground.

So many businesses start out with such a heavy fuselage that it’s aeronautically impossible to take off. So the trick Reilly is always to travel light. You only ever need enough to get you to your destination.

‘So Reilly, those three simple components of an aircraft and a business interact with each other absolutely and are the fundamentals of getting both aircraft and businesses airborne.

‘Is that all there is to it?

At precisely this moment Eoin Kelly, the pilot, emerged from the cockpit and recognised Reilly.

‘You’re a long way from Newquay Reilly,’ says Kelly, amiably.

‘I am’ says Reilly nervously. ‘And if I am itself shouldn’t you be inside driving the plane not yacking out here as if you’d be strolling the Flaggy Shore!

‘That’s why we have co-pilots and global positioning satellite technology. They free us up to look after the needs of important passengers like you.’

‘That’s the most critical component of a business model Reilly,’ says Pádraig.

‘For sure a business needs a good pilot or leader. But the business needs also to have a system that enables the business to run without the full-time input of the business owner.


• Getting a business airborne is relatively simple. Like aviation, you need five basic components. A great product; impactful marketing; lean resourcing; expert leadership; and great systems.

• Keeping a business airborne may not be as simple as it once was, however. Be aware of the following facts of current business life.

– Every day 3076 businesses close their doors.
– 46% of business closures can be chalked down to owner incompetence.
– Being a business owner has been proven to lower your life expectancy by five years. (Padraig O Céidigh and Reilly are both prime examples of having nearly proved that.)
– Amazon now has 350, 928, and 851 products competing for your customers’ wallets.
– The number of digital advertisers has quadrupled in a few short years and is projected to continue to.
– 90% of consumers find ads ‘annoying.’
– 80% of consumers will change to a new supplier following one bad experience.


When everything seems to be going against you remember that planes take off against the wind, not with it.’


1. How great is your product or service?
2. What will you do this week to improve them?
3. How effective is your marketing?
4. What will you do this week to improve it?
5. How cumbersome are your overheads?
6. What will you do this week to reduce and lighten them?
7. How great are you as a pilot or leader?
8. What will you do this week to grow as a person?
9. How good are your systems?
10. What will you do this week to improve them?

(There will always be robust discussion as to what component of the business mix is most important. One thing is certain. Nothing happens in business until somebody buys something and the destiny of every business remains its ability to get and keep customers. In early November Reilly is convening an elite mastermind of business owners who are committed to growing their businesses through marketing mastery. If you are interested in discussing this with him please go to  to arrange a free marketing needs analysis.)

Choose and benefit from Pádraic Ó Máille services: Smacht Programme, Keynote Speaker, Business Coaching, Business Mentoring, and One-to-One Coaching.

What’s more, join a Smácht Mastermind group. Learn how to become more decisive and take responsibility for making a difference in the world. Book a call today.

Find Out About SMACHT Here

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