If you’ve ever created a new geographic information system (GIS) product or service and wanted to monetize it, you’re in the right place. Since you’re about to learn the key steps to take.
To begin, you need to decide whether you’d like to sell or license your technology to another firm or create your own business to monetize it. If the former, the best strategy is to find a talented lawyer to make sure agreements are prepared to protect your intellectual property. Then, contact firms you think might be interested, and sell them on the opportunity to purchase or license your GIS technology.
If that latter, and you want to launch your own company, the first step is to create a business plan. If you need funding for your company, a business plan is a must. But even if no funding is required, a business plan will help organize and focus your efforts.
To complete a business plan for your GIS application, you should use or download a free business plan template and be sure to include the following information in each section of your plan.
Complete your executive summary last. As the name implies, this section should summarize the rest of your business plan. Importantly, in your summary you must:
- Succinctly describe what your GIS technology does and its applications
- Discuss why you and your company are uniquely qualified to succeed. Maybe it’s because of the great technology you developed, your experience and expertise in the field, relationships you have formed, etc. Be sure to document these reasons, since funding sources care deeply about them.
In this section of your plan, briefly detail the history of your company. While a startup doesn’t have much of a history, document when you came up with your product idea and accomplishments to date. Have you created an alpha or beta version? Have you named your company? Have you found potential partners or employees? These are all accomplishments to convey in this section of your plan.
In this section, discuss the industry in which your company is competing, the GIS market size and market trends. For example, according to Markets and Markets, “the global geographic information systems (GIS) market size is expected to grow from $8.1 billion in 2020 to $14.5 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 12.4% from 2020 to 2025.”
This statistic shows the market is growing, which is what investors and lenders like to see. So include it in your plan along with other research supporting the viability of your venture.
In the customer analysis section, detail the key customer segments you will serve. As best as possible, document their wants and needs and show how your GIS offering will meet those needs.
Here you will identify the other GIS solutions with which you compete. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor. Ideally you can present a features or benefits matrix showing how your solution differentiates from the others. Likewise, detail your areas of competitive advantage. That is, what makes your solution and/or company unique and better than your competitors.
Your marketing plan documents your 4 Ps as follows:
Product: define the GIS products and/or services you will offer.
Promotions: discuss how you will promote your offerings, for example, via cold calls, direct mail, industry trade shows, pay per click advertising, etc.
Place or Distribution: include this section if you will be using distributors to help sell your offerings. If so, document who these distributors are.
Price: discuss your pricing here.
Here you will focus on the key milestones you hope to achieve over the next 5 years. For example, document the dates when you hope to hire your 5th and 25th employees, when you hope to reach $X and $Y in sales. Etc.
This milestone chart will give you and readers a good idea of how your company will grow.
In this section, discuss your background and the background of your team members. Your goal here is to prove to readers that your team has the experience and expertise to successfully build your company. If you still need to hire many team members, that’s fine. Just document the positions you are looking to fill and the qualifications for each.
Here you will discuss any funding needs you have and the key uses for the funds. You will also present your key financial assumptions such as number of units you expect to sell and expected growth rates. You will also include your key financial statements based on these assumptions: your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.
Developing a business plan for your GIS application will take some time. But the process is invaluable. You will learn a lot about your business from the process and ultimately create a better strategy to follow. Plus, if you need funding, investors and lenders will require you to submit your plan to them.
Author Bio (if desired/needed)
Dave Lavinsky is the president and co-founder of Growthink. For the past 20+ years, Growthink has served as a business plan consultant to over 5,000 companies and our free business plan template for small businesses has been used by hundreds of thousands of companies to create their plans.