In the fourth and final part of our series on ‘Planning’, GeoMoby co-founder Chris Baudia admits that planning never came naturally to him – but that hasn’t stopped him from embracing it…
French-born engineer Chris Baudia helped found GeoMoby in Perth in 2013, developing a new approach to geo-fencing – the idea of using low-power beacons to establish virtual boundaries in the real-world, which can be used for everything from advertising to data gathering.
Speaking to Startup News for the final installment of ‘Planning without Pain’, Chris said very early in the process, the Founder Institute accelerator program (which he completed in 2013) taught him to value vision as the start of the planning process.
“Vision and drivers are actually the key components of a business plan,” he said.
“The very first week of the Founder Institute is all about the visions and the drivers that will actually lead the path to the business, and they will pick you up when you feel a bit low.
“You need to have a clear vision of how you see your business in 10 years, what’s your ‘big hairy goal’ … and then you move backwards from that point to say, OK, in two years’ time where do you think you should go in order to achieve that goal?”
Getting across it all
Chris said in his experience starting with a business model canvas, which uses a chart to guide the planning process, is the best way to approach planning.
“Now you’ve got in one page … your market research, what your product is about, how you’re going to sell it, what your business model [is], what are your expenses and so on,” he said.
“From there, we fleshed out every single component from the business canvas to build the business plan with the help of our financial advisor.
“That was really the beginning, for us, realising a lot of what we had to do.”
Starting off on the right foot
Reflecting on his own experiences growing GeoMoby, Chris said he’s learnt first hand why planning should come before practice.
“Definitely start with the business model canvas. It takes a couple of hours but you just realise that you missed a few … questions that will be absolutely key later on,” he said.
“If you messed up right from the beginning, it’s very difficult to move back from there.
“It’s better to consider every aspect of your business very early on, so that you can drive your next steps.”
“[In] working on a business plan … you realise that, OK, you need to work on a few things before you start coding, and you know what, that’s a mistake we made,” he said.
Embracing the pivot
For many startups, the word ‘pivot’ strikes fear into founder’s hearts.
Chris said changing direction along the way isn’t something to be scared of though, especially if you nailed your planning at the start.
“We did pivot twice, actually, in our business, and it all comes down to your bigger goal,” he said.
“We still have the same vision, we still have the same goals, but we still don’t know exactly how we’re going to reach that goal.
“And that’s the reason why the business plan is moving and you need to embrace pivots, you need to embrace flexibility in that business plan, and I think every investor is aware of that.
“The business plan is just a snapshot of what you think you can achieve and how you’re going to achieve [it], and [investors] understand that pivot[ing] is naturally part of building a startup, especially early-stage.
“The advice you get from your market, from your clients, will actually drive the very next step and will change your business plan.”
Some love for Perth
With aspirations of breaking the one million dollar revenue mark this year, Chris said up-and-comers should take advantage of the support offered by Perth’s growing startup ecosystem.
“We don’t have a lot of investors here, that’s fine,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people that can help, like founders and accelerators as well, that can just help just to go through the business model canvas.
“I will definitely encourage everyone to go through and to ask anyone in the startup community [for help].”
Feature image: The GeoMoby team, including co-founder Chris Baudia (left). Source: supplied.
Click here to learn more about GeoMoby.
Click here to read part three of Planning without Pain.