Taylor Mitcham believes failing to plan is planning to fail. Download her free template and write your drone business plan!
A business is an entity that provides a valuable product or service in exchange for money (or some other currency). In order to start a successful drone business, you must understand the following principle:
**Drones are a tool that helps to solve new and existing problems in many industries.**
Yes, you read that right, drones are just a tool to solve problems. If you want a business, you have to look beyond the tool (drones) and find out what your client’s problems are, and solve them. This template will help you do just that.
You can get the template here: https://learn.dronero.co/bplan
Now that you’ve downloaded the template and maybe watched the video, I want to describe each section of the template.
Target Market – Who the heck are you selling your services to?
Your target market is all about who you’re selling to. Anyone with money or anyone who could use my services is not specific enough. No one likes to be lumped into a crowd. People and businesses like solutions that are PERFECT for them.
Additionally, the language, problems and issues that a construction manager faces are different than a real estate agent. Being clear on exactly who you’re target is essential for the building your business. It’s ok to have more than one target, but be aware of WHO exactly they are.
Problem – What keeps your target market up at night, causes them stress, is a real headache, etc?
A business is about solving problems. In order to articulate your solutions must understand the problem and speak them back to a client in THEIR language, not yours.
Solution – What is the thing (or things) that’s going to solve their problems or save them money, time, reduce their risk, etc.?
Alright, now we’re getting to the part where drones come in right? WRONG. A solution is the ULTIMATE deliverable you’re giving to your client. Unless your business is selling people drones, then drones have nothing to do with this. Solutions include pictures, videos, reports, etc.
Remember, a client doesn’t care how you solve their problem…they care that it’s solved, PERIOD, the end. When you go to a restaurant, do you ask the chef what type of spatula he or she is using to cook your cheeseburger? Of course not. You care that you get the food you asked for. Your clients are the same. They care about the final deliverable.
Unique Selling Proposition – What makes you different than your competition?
This section is a 2-parter. First off you have to understand who your competition is, including but not limited to:
- Doing nothing (letting the problem continue with no intervention)
- Their current solutions
- Other companies who solve their problem
- Other drone service providers
Second part of this is to go through each of the bullets above and figure out what makes you different that each level of your competition. For example, if you client continues to do nothing, they’re going to spend 40% more per year vs using my services.
Equipment/Certifications – What do you need to provide the solution?
FINALLY! We’re at the part of the business plan that involves DRONES!! WOOO! Now in this section, write in ALL of the equipment you need to complete the job. Equipment includes your drone (YAY for drones!), any additional payloads and hardware, software (video editor, dropbox, mapping software, etc). Additionally, if there are any certifications you need to get, put those in this box too.
Costs – The foundation of your pricing
Breakdown ALL of your costs to execute the solution and make sure you include your own time. After all, your time is very valuable and should be included. Things that should also be included are transportation costs, equipment costs (even the equipment you own), customer acquisition costs (AKA how much did it cost you to obtain that customer), and post-processing costs.
Once you have a guesstimate of how much money it will take to provide the solution, you’ll know the minimum amount you need to charge in order to make a profit.
Customer Acquisition – Where are you going to find your target market?
You can have the PERFECT solution for an exact target, but if they don’t know about it, then you might as well just pack up your propellers. Now I’ll share one of my customer acquisition secrets that I use in my company, SkyNinja.
The easiest place to find customers is at networking events, meetups, and conferences that are geared specifically towards your niche. AKA, I go to construction conferences, meetups, and networking events because that’s where construction project managers are. I am able to right then and there here about their problems and offer them solutions catered directly to their needs. It’s a Win-win.
Taylor Mitcham is the founder and Chief Drone Ninja at Sky Ninja. At SkyNinja, we’re all about helping the construction industry execute their projects more effectively using drone technology. Our team of Certified Drone Ninjas have a unique knowledge of engineering, construction, and drones.
Prior to starting SkyNinja, I was a Project Engineer for a major EPFC construction firm and worked all around the U.S. building our critical infrastructure. These projects spanned across many industries including power/utility, oil & gas, and mining. Now we’re helping construction companies, engineering firms, surveyors, and owners improve their efficiencies, mitigate their risks, monitor their projects, collect accurate data that helps everyone make better decisions, and save a significant amount of money over traditional methods.
“Expert Insight” is the independent views and opinions of the submitting named author of this article.