If your company is looking for a drone company, check out Women And Drones at WomenAndDrones.com, which encourages women to learn to fly drones and features really interesting stories about women drone pilots, like me! I was profiled in the We Are All Awesome project.
All drones weighing more than one-half pound and less than 55 pounds, including the payload, must be registered. Go to FAA.gov/Dronezone and follow the instructions. DO NOT get sucked into sites that charge a fee to file the paperwork. Registering your drone is very easy.
Drones can carry different payloads, cameras, sensors, and equipment. It makes sense that larger drones can carry heavier payloads. Some can even carry multiple sensors, such as two different types of cameras. However, drones with a single high-resolution camera are adequate for most drone projects.
Map makers, topographers and even archaeologists need aerial surveys to fully evaluate some of their projects. Drone operators can provide these aerial views with lower overhead costs. Drones can fly low and slow, which captures better images of a site than a traditional manned aircraft. Drone operators can take advantage of many mapping software options to produce mosaic or composite photos based on stitching together many images.
Drones provide aerial views of facilities, including rooftops, for inspections of damage or routine inspections. Drones can produce maps and 3D models to quickly and accurately inspect and measure roofs. Adding thermal imaging camera photos or videos will reveal potential problems with equipment overheating, which supports better preventive maintenance.
One way to prove the company’s viability is through the “lean start-up” process. The company grows from concept to start-up with limited funding to prove its core hypothesis, seeking full funding later. You might test the market cheaply by selling an early version of your product, pre-selling it, or giving free samples. This evidence can eliminate some investment risk and make your business more compelling for investors.
Most attractive business plans show growth, and keeping up with growth can be hard. What is the company’s operating plan? Can the team handle product line expansion and growth? There is no point in having a better mousetrap if, once the world starts beating the path to your door, you can’t deliver it!
Most funders think the capabilities of the team are among the most important predictors of success, so it’s critical that your plan describe their capabilities and experience in detail. Other company resources such as staff, facilities, or websites can always be added or changed as required, but success will depend on capable leaders.
You might need additional research on markets, technology or competitors. You may want help putting together financial reports and projections. You might need legal advice on the best way to structure your business. The experts are there if you need them. You may also be able to get help at no cost from government agencies, industry associations, trade groups, or other sources.
Imagine building a house without a plan—chaos! Producing a plan will sharpen your concepts, reveal gaps in your plans, organize your data and information, point out areas needing attention, and provide structure for company operations. View it as a “sanity check.” Producing a plan is a useful discipline and worth the effort.