I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Over the years, I have started several companies. Some, like my drone service company, have been tremendously successful. Others have been "learning opportunities," where the opportunity was watching my idea burn up in a blaze of glory.
By far, my worst idea ever was designing apps for the iPhone. It was early 2011, and I had read a book about people cashing in on making apps. It seemed easy, at least according to the book I read. I decided to start making apps and could already see the money rolling on in.
The very much misunderstood Mayan Doomsday prediction for December 2012 wasn't too far away. So, I made an app that essentially was no more than some graphics and a countdown to the "end of the world." I spent a decent amount to make my first app and sold it for $0.99 on the app store. Hardly anyone purchased my countdown app. I think I sold about 20, which brought in way less than it cost to make. I couldn't even get my own brother to keep it on his iPhone.
My Mayan blunder taught me I had no business designing apps, and I moved on to other things. Looking back, the difference between my successful businesses and failures was always a lack of preparation.
Years after I left the app store in shame, I earned my MBA and realized I had never sat down to make a business plan for my app company. To be successful, or at least have the best chance of success, you need a business plan.
Before we get into what your plan needs, let's dispel a myth about plans. MBA programs and business books will make plans out to be somewhat complicated. They'll say you need executive summaries, mission statements, a SWOT analysis, accounting spreadsheets, and exit plans. While this may be true in some cases, plans can be very basic. When I was a manager at Amazon, we learned Jeff Bezos drew up the first plan for Amazon.com on a napkin!
So, what do you need? Well, the bottom line is you need to make sure you know the answers to a few questions.
You are off to a good start if you can answer these questions.
Every drone business will be different, but these questions are good starting points for most. If you answer these questions in depth enough, you'll have an understanding of how to market your services, what to set your prices at, how expensive your drone should be, whether you need a loan to start, etc. The answers to these questions will help to mitigate failure.
When I made the app, I barely answered any of these. As a result, I had no marketing plan, needed to learn more about who my customers were, and realized too late I was fulfilling a need my customers didn't have. Take the time to plan things out, and you're more likely to succeed as a commercial drone pilot.
If you really want to understand the questions above and more, keep an eye out for our upcoming business course. Stay safe out there, and happy flying!
Article Written by David Daly