How to write a business plan for a geodetic surveying firm?
Putting together a business plan for a geodetic surveying firm can be daunting - especially if you're creating a business for the first time - but with this comprehensive guide, you'll have the necessary tools to do it confidently.
We will explore why writing one is so important in both starting up and growing an existing geodetic surveying firm, as well as what should go into making an effective plan - from its structure to content - and what tools can be used to streamline the process and avoid errors.
Without further ado, let us begin!
Why write a business plan for a geodetic surveying firm?
Having a clear understanding of why you want to write a business plan for your geodetic surveying firm will make it simpler for you to grasp the rationale behind its structure and content. So before delving into the plan's actual details, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of the primary reasons why you'd want to create a geodetic surveying firm business plan.
To have a clear roadmap to grow the business
Running a small business is tough! Economic cycles bring growth and recessions, while the business landscape is ever-changing with new technologies, regulations, competitors, and consumer behaviours emerging constantly.
In such a dynamic context, operating a business without a clear roadmap is akin to driving blindfolded: it's risky, to say the least. That's why crafting a business plan for your geodetic surveying firm is vital to establish a successful and sustainable venture.
To create an effective business plan, you'll need to assess your current position (if you're already in business) and define where you want the business to be in the next three to five years.
Once you have a clear destination for your geodetic surveying firm, you'll have to:
- Identify the necessary resources (human, equipment, and capital) needed to reach your goals,
- Determine the pace at which the business needs to progress to meet its objectives as scheduled,
- Recognize and address the potential risks you may encounter along the way.
Engaging in this process regularly proves advantageous for both startups and established companies. It empowers you to make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring the long-term success of your business.
To get visibility on future cash flows
If your small geodetic surveying firm runs out of cash: it's game over. That's why we often say "cash is king", and it's crucial to have a clear view of your geodetic surveying firm's future cash flows.
So, how can you achieve this? It's simple - you need to have an up-to-date financial forecast.
The good news is that your geodetic surveying firm business plan already includes a financial forecast (which we'll discuss further in this guide). Your task is to ensure it stays current.
To accomplish this, it's essential to regularly compare your actual financial performance with what was planned in your financial forecast. Based on your business's current trajectory, you can make adjustments to the forecast.
By diligently monitoring your geodetic surveying firm's financial health, you'll be able to spot potential financial issues, like unexpected cash shortfalls, early on and take corrective actions. Moreover, this practice will enable you to recognize and capitalize on growth opportunities, such as excess cash flow enabling you to expand to new locations.
To secure financing
A detailed business plan becomes a crucial tool when seeking financing from banks or investors for your geodetic surveying firm.
Investing and lending to small businesses are very risky activities given how fragile they are. Therefore, financiers have to take extra precautions before putting their capital at risk.
At a minimum, financiers will want to ensure that you have a clear roadmap and a solid understanding of your future cash flows (like we just explained above). But they will also want to ensure that your business plan fits the risk/reward profile they seek.
This will off-course vary from bank to bank and investor to investor, but as a rule of thumb. Banks will want to see a conservative financial management style (low risk), and they will use the information in your business plan to assess your borrowing capacity — the level of debt they think your business can comfortably handle — and your ability to repay the loan. This evaluation will determine whether they'll provide credit to your geodetic surveying firm and the terms of the agreement.
Whereas investors will carefully analyze your business plan to gauge the potential return on their investment. Their focus lies on evidence indicating your geodetic surveying firm's potential for high growth, profitability, and consistent cash flow generation over time.
Now that you recognize the importance of creating a business plan for your geodetic surveying firm, let's explore what information is required to create a compelling plan.
Information needed to create a business plan for a geodetic surveying firm
You need the right data in order to project sales, investments and costs accurately in the financial forecast of your geodetic surveying firm business plan.
Below, we'll cover three key pieces of information you should gather before drafting your business plan.
Carrying out market research for a geodetic surveying firm
Before you begin writing your business plan for a geodetic surveying firm, conducting market research is a critical step in ensuring precise and realistic financial projections.
Market research grants you valuable insights into your target customer base, competitors, pricing strategies, and other crucial factors that can impact the success of your business.
In the course of this research, you may stumble upon trends that could impact your geodetic surveying firm.
1. Your geodetic surveying firm may discover that there is an increased demand for more precise and accurate surveying services in certain areas. 2. Your geodetic surveying firm might find that the use of digital mapping and geospatial technology is becoming more popular among clients.
Such market trends play a pivotal role in revenue forecasting, as they provide essential data regarding potential customers' spending habits and preferences.
By integrating these findings into your financial projections, you can provide investors with more accurate information, enabling them to make well-informed decisions about investing in your geodetic surveying firm.
Developing the sales and marketing plan for a geodetic surveying firm
Budgeting sales and marketing expenses is essential before creating a geodetic surveying firm business plan.
A comprehensive sales and marketing plan should provide an accurate projection of what actions need to be implemented to acquire and retain customers, how many people are needed to carry out these initiatives, and how much needs to be spent on promotions, advertising, and other aspects.
This helps ensure that the right amount of resources is allocated to these activities in order to hit the sales and growth objectives forecasted in your business plan.
The staffing and equipment needs of a geodetic surveying firm
Whether you are at the beginning stages of your geodetic surveying firm or expanding its horizons, having a clear plan for recruitment and capital expenditures (investment in equipment and real estate) is vital to ensure your business's success.
To achieve this, both the recruitment and investment plans must align coherently with the projected timing and level of growth in your forecast. It is essential to secure appropriate funding for these plans.
The staffing costs for a geodetic surveying firm might include salaries for surveying technicians, supervisors, and other support staff, as well as health insurance and other employee benefits. The equipment costs might include GPS receivers, total stations, drones, data collectors, survey-grade GPS antennas, software, and other specialized surveying equipment.
To create a financial forecast that accurately represents your business's outlook, remember to factor in other day-to-day operating expenses.
Now that you have all the necessary information, it's time to dive in and start creating your business plan and developing the financial forecast for your geodetic surveying firm.
What goes into your geodetic surveying firm's financial forecast?
The objective of the financial forecast of your geodetic surveying firm's business plan is to show the growth, profitability, funding requirements, and cash generation potential of your business over the next 3 to 5 years.
The four key outputs of a financial forecast for a geodetic surveying firm are:
- The profit and loss (P&L) statement,
- The projected balance sheet,
- The cash flow forecast,
- And the sources and uses table.
Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.
The projected P&L statement
The projected P&L statement for a geodetic surveying firm shows how much revenue and profits your business is expected to generate in the future.
Ideally, your geodetic surveying firm's P&L statement should show:
- Healthy growth - above inflation level
- Improving or stable profit margins
- Positive net profit
Expectations will vary based on the stage of your business. A startup will be expected to grow faster than an established geodetic surveying firm. And similarly, an established company should showcase a higher level of profitability than a new venture.
The projected balance sheet of your geodetic surveying firm
Your geodetic surveying firm's forecasted balance sheet enables the reader of your plan to assess your financial structure, working capital, and investment policy.
It is composed of three types of elements: assets, liabilities and equity:
- Assets: represent what the business owns and uses to produce cash flows. It includes resources such as cash, equipment, and accounts receivable (money owed by clients).
- Liabilities: represent funds advanced to the business by lenders and other creditors. It includes items such as accounts payable (money owed to suppliers), taxes due and loans.
- Equity: is the combination of what has been invested by the business owners and the cumulative profits and losses generated by the business to date (which are called retained earnings). Equity is a proxy for the value of the owner's stake in the business.
Your geodetic surveying firm's balance sheet will usually be analyzed in conjunction with the other financial statements included in your forecast.
Two key points of focus will be:
- Your geodetic surveying firm's liquidity: does your business have sufficient cash and short-term assets to pay what it owes over the next 12 months?
- And its solvency: does your business have the capacity to repay its debt over the medium-term?
The cash flow forecast
A projected cash flow statement for a geodetic surveying firm is used to show how much cash the business is generating or consuming.
The cash flow forecast is usually organized by nature to show three key metrics:
- The operating cash flow: do the core business activities generate or consume cash?
- The investing cash flow: how much is the business investing in long-term assets (this is usually compared to the level of fixed assets on the balance sheet to assess whether the business is regularly maintaining and renewing its equipment)?
- The financing cash flow: is the business raising new financing or repaying financiers (debt repayment, dividends)?
As we discussed earlier, cash is king and keeping an eye on future cash flows an imperative for running a successful business. Therefore, you can expect the reader of your geodetic surveying firm business plan to pay close attention to your cash flow forecast.
Also, note that it is customary to provide both yearly and monthly cash flow forecasts in a business plan - so that the reader can analyze seasonal variation and ensure the geodetic surveying firm is appropriately funded.
The initial financing plan
The initial financing plan, also known as a sources and uses table, is a valuable resource to have in your business plan when starting your geodetic surveying firm as it reveals the origins of the money needed to establish the business (sources) and how it will be allocated (uses).
Having this table helps show what costs are involved in setting up your geodetic surveying firm, how risks are shared between founders, investors and lenders, and what the starting cash position will be. This cash position needs to be sufficient to sustain operations until the business reaches a break-even point.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what goes into the financial forecast of your geodetic surveying firm business plan, let's shift our focus to the written part of the plan.
The written part of a geodetic surveying firm business plan
The written part of a geodetic surveying firm business plan is composed of 7 main sections:
- The executive summary
- The presentation of the company
- The products and services
- The market analysis
- The strategy
- The operations
- The financial plan
Throughout these sections, you will seek to provide the reader with the details and context needed for them to form a view on whether or not your business plan is achievable and your forecast a realistic possibility.
Let's go through the content of each section in more detail!
1. The executive summary
The first section of your geodetic surveying firm's business plan is the executive summary which provides, as its name suggests, an enticing summary of your plan which should hook the reader and make them want to know more about your business.
When writing the executive summary, it is important to provide an overview of the business, the market, the key financials, and what you are asking from the reader.
Start with a brief introduction of the business, its name, concept, location, how long it has been in operation, and what makes it unique. Mention any services or products you plan to offer and who you sell to.
Then you should follow with an overview of the addressable market for your geodetic surveying firm, current trends, and potential growth opportunities.
You should then include a summary of your key financial figures such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.
Finally, you should detail any funding requirements in the ask section.
2. The presentation of the company
In your geodetic surveying firm business plan, the second section should focus on the structure and ownership, location, and management team of your company.
In the structure and ownership part, you'll provide an overview of the business's legal structure, details about the owners, and their respective investments and ownership shares. This clarity is crucial, especially if you're seeking financing, as it helps the reader understand which legal entity will receive the funds and who controls the business.
Moving on to the location part, you'll offer an overview of the company's premises and their surroundings. Explain why this particular location is of interest, highlighting factors like catchment area, accessibility, and nearby amenities.
When describing the location of your geodetic surveying firm, you could emphasize that it is located in an area that has a large population and a vibrant economy. You may point out that the region is well-connected, with good infrastructure and easy access to transportation links. You might also highlight that the region is known for its favorable business climate, with low taxes and incentives for businesses. Additionally, you could emphasize the potential for growth in the area and the potential for your firm to take advantage of the growing market.
Finally, you should introduce your management team. Describe each member's role, background, and experience.
Don't forget to emphasize any past successes achieved by the management team and how long they've been working together. Demonstrating their track record and teamwork will help potential lenders or investors gain confidence in their leadership and ability to execute the business plan.
3. The products and services section
The products and services section of your geodetic surveying firm business plan should include a detailed description of what your company sells to its customers.
For example, your geodetic surveying firm may offer services such as GPS surveys, land boundary surveys, and elevation measurement services to its customers. GPS surveys are used to collect positional data for mapping purposes and can provide customers with detailed maps of a location. Land boundary surveys can provide customers with an accurate, legal description of their property boundaries. Elevation measurement services can be used to measure the height of a structure or land feature, which can be useful for engineering and planning purposes.
The reader will want to understand what makes your geodetic surveying firm unique from other businesses in this competitive market.
When drafting this section, you should be precise about the categories of products or services you sell, the clients you are targeting and the channels that you are targeting them through.
4. The market analysis
When outlining your market analysis in the geodetic surveying firm business plan, it's essential to include comprehensive details about customers' demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and relevant regulations.
The primary aim of this section is to give the reader an understanding of the market size and appeal while demonstrating your expertise in the industry.
To begin, delve into the demographics and segmentation subsection, providing an overview of the addressable market for your geodetic surveying firm, key marketplace trends, and introducing various customer segments and their preferences in terms of purchasing habits and budgets.
Next, shift your focus to the target market subsection, where you can zoom in on the specific customer segments your geodetic surveying firm targets. Explain how your products and services are tailored to meet the unique needs of these customers.
For example, your target market might include real estate developers. They need to know the exact boundaries of a piece of land before they can build on it. Additionally, they may need a geodetic survey to help them plan how to best divide the land. Lastly, they may need to verify that a building is in compliance with local regulations.
In the competition subsection, introduce your main competitors and explain what sets your geodetic surveying firm apart from them.
Finally, round off your market analysis by providing an overview of the main regulations that apply to your geodetic surveying firm.
5. The strategy section
When writing the strategy section of a business plan for your geodetic surveying firm, it is essential to include information about your competitive edge, pricing strategy, sales & marketing plan, milestones, and risks and mitigants.
The competitive edge subsection should explain what sets your company apart from its competitors. This part is especially key if you are writing the business plan of a startup, as you have to make a name for yourself in the marketplace against established players.
The pricing strategy subsection should demonstrate how you intend to remain profitable while still offering competitive prices to your customers.
The sales & marketing plan should outline how you intend to reach out and acquire new customers, as well as retain existing ones with loyalty programs or special offers.
The milestones subsection should outline what your company has achieved to date, and its main objectives for the years to come - along with dates so that everyone involved has clear expectations of when progress can be expected.
The risks and mitigants subsection should list the main risks that jeopardize the execution of your plan and explain what measures you have taken to minimize these. This is essential in order for investors or lenders to feel secure in investing in your venture.
Your geodetic surveying firm may face a variety of risks. For example, you could be exposed to the risk of financial loss due to a third party filing a lawsuit against you after an error in a survey. Additionally, your firm may face the risk of reputational damage due to a dispute between you and a client over the accuracy of a survey. Both of these risks could have the potential to cause significant losses to your firm if not managed properly.
6. The operations section
The operations of your geodetic surveying firm must be presented in detail in your business plan.
Begin by addressing your staff, specifying the main roles and your recruitment plan to support the anticipated growth. Outline the qualifications and experience needed for each role and discuss your recruitment strategies, which may involve using job boards, referrals, or headhunters.
Next, clearly state your geodetic surveying firm's operating hours, allowing the reader to gauge the adequacy of your staffing levels. Additionally, mention any considerations for varying opening times during peak seasons and your approach to handling customer queries outside regular operating hours.
The key assets and intellectual property (IP) required to run your business should also be highlighted. If you rely on licenses, trademarks, physical structures like equipment or property, or lease agreements, ensure they are well-documented in this section.
Your geodetic surveying firm could have a variety of key assets and IP at its disposal. These could include physical assets such as surveying instruments and vehicles, as well as intellectual property like survey plans and software. The firm may also have proprietary processes and methods in place which could give them a competitive edge when it comes to providing geodetic services.
Finally, provide a comprehensive list of suppliers you intend to collaborate with, along with a breakdown of their services and main commercial terms, such as price, payment terms, break clauses and contract duration. Investors often seek insight into the reasons behind your supplier choices, which may include a preference for higher-quality products or established relationships from past ventures.
7. The presentation of the financial plan
The financial plan section is where we will include the financial forecast we talked about earlier in this guide.
Now that you have a clear idea of the content of a geodetic surveying firm business plan, let's look at some of the tools you can use to create yours.
What tool should I use to write my geodetic surveying firm's business plan?
In this section, we will be reviewing the two main solutions for creating a geodetic surveying firm business plan:
- Using specialized online business plan software,
- Outsourcing the plan to the business plan writer.
Using an online business plan software for your geodetic surveying firm's business plan
Using online business planning software is the most efficient and modern way to create a geodetic surveying firm business plan.
There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You can easily create your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
- You can access a library of dozens of complete business plan samples and templates for inspiration
- You get a professional business plan, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors
- You can easily track your actual financial performance against your financial forecast
- You can create scenarios to stress test your forecast's main assumptions
- You can easily update your forecast as time goes by to maintain visibility on future cash flows
- You have a friendly support team on standby to assist you when you are stuck
If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try The Business Plan Shop for free by signing up here.
Hiring a business plan writer to write your geodetic surveying firm's business plan
Outsourcing your geodetic surveying firm business plan to a business plan writer can also be a viable option.
Business plan writers are skilled in creating error-free business plans and accurate financial forecasts. Moreover, hiring a consultant can save you valuable time, allowing you to focus on day-to-day business operations.
However, it's essential to be aware that hiring business plan writers will be expensive, as you're not only paying for their time but also the software they use and their profit margin.
Based on experience, you should budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) excluding tax for a comprehensive business plan, and more if you require changes after initial discussions with lenders or investors.
Also, exercise caution when seeking investment. Investors prefer their funds to be directed towards business growth rather than spent on consulting fees. Therefore, the amount you spend on business plan writing services and other consulting services should be insignificant compared to the amount raised.
Keep in mind that one drawback is that you usually don't own the business plan itself; you only receive the output, while the actual document is saved in the consultant's business planning software. This can make it challenging to update the document without retaining the consultant's services.
For these reasons, carefully consider outsourcing your geodetic surveying firm business plan to a business plan writer, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of seeking outside assistance.
Why not create your geodetic surveying firm's business plan using Word or Excel?
Using Microsoft Excel and Word (or their Google, Apple, or open-source equivalents) to write a geodetic surveying firm business plan is a terrible idea.
For starters, creating an accurate and error-free financial forecast on Excel (or any spreadsheet) is very technical and requires both a strong grasp of accounting principles and solid skills in financial modelling.
As a result, it is unlikely anyone will trust your numbers unless - like us at The Business Plan Shop - you hold a degree in finance and accounting and have significant financial modelling experience in your past.
The second reason is that it is inefficient. Building forecasts on spreadsheets was the only option in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays technology has advanced and software can do it much faster and much more accurately.
And with the rise of AI, software is also becoming smarter at helping us detect mistakes in our forecasts and helping us analyse the numbers to make better decisions.
Also, using software makes it easy to compare actuals vs. forecasts and maintain our forecasts up to date to maintain visibility on future cash flows - as we discussed earlier in this guide - whereas this is a pain to do with a spreadsheet.
That's for the forecast, but what about the written part of my geodetic surveying firm business plan?
This part is less error-prone, but here also software brings tremendous gains in productivity:
- Word processors don't include instructions and examples for each part of your business plan
- Word processors don't update your numbers automatically when they change in your forecast
- Word processors don't handle the formatting for you
Overall, while Word or Excel may be viable options for creating a geodetic surveying firm business plan for some entrepreneurs, it is by far not the best or most efficient solution.
- A business plan has 2 complementary parts: a financial forecast showcasing the expected growth, profits and cash flows of the business; and a written part which provides the context needed to judge if the forecast is realistic and relevant.
- Having an up-to-date business plan is the only way to keep visibility on your geodetic surveying firm's future cash flows.
- Using business plan software is the modern way of writing and maintaining business plans.
We hope that this practical guide gave you insights on how to write the business plan for your geodetic surveying firm. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if you still have questions.
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