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Owner of Flightdeck Gets a Chance to Soar at Thought Leaders Live Event
  • 29 September 2016
  • Nicole Cox

Owner of Flightdeck Gets a Chance to Soar at Thought Leaders Live Event

When small business owner Paul Wigboldy got in his car to drive from Anaheim, Calif. to Scottsdale, Ariz., he had no idea that this road trip was about to open up new avenues for his small business. Paul was heading out to join 250 entrepreneurs and small business owners for Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Thought Leaders Live” event sponsored by The UPS Store featuring keynote speaker and host of CNBC’s The Profit Marcus Lemonis.

Paul learned about the event through his Entrepreneur magazine app. An avid Entrepreneur reader and a big fan of Lemonis, Paul jumped at the opportunity to hear him speak. What he didn’t realize was he would soon get the chance to meet his long-time small business idol.

While Lemonis was leading a Q&A on stage with three small business owners, Paul saw his window of opportunity. He had a suggestion and a question for one of the SBOs, raised his hand and Lemonis called on him. Lemonis asked Paul what he does, and Paul took the opportunity to deliver his “elevator pitch” to the entire audience of business owners.

Paul described his small business, Flightdeck, which allows customers to experience the thrill of aerial maneuvers at 600 knots and air-to-air combat in state-of-the-art military flight simulators. Flightdeck also provides classroom training and in-flight instruction. Lemonis was so intrigued, he invited Paul to join him on stage.

“Marcus asked me if my company offered corporate events and team building and I responded with an enthusiastic, ‘yes’!” said Paul. He asked me for my business card and I came prepared with a stack of business cards — I always do. The only thing I regret is not asking for his.”

After hearing about Paul’s business, Lemonis looked over at Tim Davis, President of The UPS Store, and threw down the gauntlet saying, “Hey Tim, how about you and me? I’ll take you on… up in the skies.”

That endorsement from Lemonis was all it took.

“When I returned to my table, everyone asked for my card. At lunch following the presentation, more people approached me asking for my card and even later that evening at the hotel,” said Paul. “The response was so positive and overwhelming, it opened up the door for me to connect with other small business owners but also to get some new customers.”

When Paul returned from the event, he got a call from The UPS Store, Inc., inquiring about hosting a teambuilding event at Flightdeck, all as a result of meeting Davis. On Sept. 14, The UPS Store Southern California Area Franchisees and corporate print team hosted a business meeting and team building opportunity that allowed 55 franchisees to “get in touch with their inner Top Gun” and also fly a Boeing 737 flight simulator.

“Half of our revenue is from team building and corporate events. We can work to design the events to fit the needs of the company. Often times, companies come here for a 3-4 hour meeting, break for lunch, then jump into the fighter jet simulators and shoot the heck out of each other,” Paul laughs. “There’s no other experience like it.”

According to a recent survey* conducted by The UPS Store, Inc., networking and marketing are two of the most important areas for growth for small business owners. When it comes to networking, Paul is always looking for opportunities to get his business out there but is selective about the events he chooses to attend.

“So many small business owners hear about the importance of networking but you only get out of it what you put into it. A good example is the Thought Leaders Live event,” said Paul. For me, it was about meeting other small business owners in person and getting real advice you can implement when you get back to your business. When I got in my car to drive back, my mind was just reeling from all the new ideas.”

While Paul is still waiting for Lemonis and Davis to climb into the cockpit at Flightdeck, he hopes they will be scheduling soon. If you are looking for a unique venue to host your next networking event, check out Flightdeck for an experience to remember.

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