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15 Nov 2021

Six Days of Feasibility: Day 5 - What Do You Do with a Full Feasibility Study?

Jay Garlick

CEO - Greenscape Development Partners

This post is the fifth in a series of articles entitled: “Six Days of Feasibility” designed to educate the reader on the world of Feasibility Studies. Over the next 2 days Jay Garlick of GDP Feasibility will address the following:

Day 1: See the End from the Beginning: What are Feasibility Studies?
Day 2: Don't Make Business Risky: Why a Feasibility Study?
Day 3: Self Storage = Cash Cow: How a Feasibility Study Makes You Money?
Day 4: Buyer Beware: Why Not all Feasibility Studies are the Same?
Day 5: Get You in the Game: What Do You Do with a Full Feasibility Study?
Day 6: Deal Makers, not Deal Breakers: Do You Have Someone to Walk the Path with You?

Day 5: Get You in the Game: What Do You Do with a Full Feasibility Study?

I remember the first time I surveyed the offerings of those that provided feasibility studies to the self-storage industry some years ago. While it was clear that some made significant efforts in research and analysis, it was plainly obvious that there were very few that organized their work in a way that made it digestible to any reader and further it was very clear that the studies were not very professionally presented or graphically pleasing.

A feasibility study is not just a document for making decisions, it is also when it reflects a "go" decision for the project, should afford the client an opportunity to put their best foot forward in persuading other stakeholders to get on board. Professionally put-together materials have the power to make an impression with a bank, investor, boss, or partner instantly. That impression is a trust builder that pays dividends and makes you money. In other words, they are "high leverage" and worth investing in.

It's been our experience that when trust is high, conversations are easier, persuasion is faster, deals are struck and terms are better.

We follow the following principles for professionalism in our deliverables:

  1. The organization of the document is paramount. Make it easy for the reader to know where they are and where the deliverable is going.
  2. Make it visually pleasing. The use of graphs, charts, tables, and maps should not only convey the information but work well together in color and format as much as is possible. Pictures should be high resolution and correspond to the material presented wherever possible.
  3. Tell a story, then tell it, and then tell it again. The Executive Summary of a report should offer enough clear info and analysis so that the reader does not need to read further if they so choose. It is that simple. It should be written last after the body of the research and analysis is done. The body of the document tells the same story in detail, therefore, backing the Executive Summary in strength. Finally, the same simple conclusions of the other two should be included in the conclusion. No need to hide the recommendations, keep them front and center throughout the document.
  4. Use case studies for persuasive value. If it is appropriate, a case study can add significant value for context and proof of concept.
  5. Funnel the analysis from broad to specific for context. Many data points are better understood when national, regional, state, and county or city info is compared to the trade area. Such a broad to specific approach makes for understanding.
  6. Explain graphs, tables, charts, etc. Telling the reader why they are important and what conclusions are drawn is paramount. This might be making the complex simple or just stating the obvious, but it is important that the reader feels guided throughout the document.
Again, where can I use the study?
  1. In house decision making - the study is a primary tool for you to feel confident moving forward or help you to dodge a bullet and mitigate risk.
  2. Sharing with banks - If you get a professional positive feasibility study done you have a greater chance creating trust and success in getting favorable terms from your bank.
  3. Use it in offering memoranda or other investor related content - investors like to see that you have done your homework. They may or may not understand it, but they are putting their faith in you that you are an expert in the field and that they can trust you. High quality studies reflect well on you in your investor relationships.

From our experience and expertise, GDP Feasibility uses a proprietary metric-based approach to determine our recommendations to our clients. We then create a best-in-class high-leverage document that is more useful than any in the industry for engaging and persuading stakeholders to work with our clients.

Up Next: Day 6: Deal Makers, not Deal Breakers: Do You Have Someone to Walk the Path with You?

Who is Jay Garlick?

A self-storage developer himself, Jay Garlick is the Principal at GDP Feasibility and Partner/CEO of Greenscape Development Partners which specializes in self-storage development nationwide. Garlick began doing feasibility studies in 2004. Since then he has done studies on over 400 sites in the United States. Jay has a Masters Degree in Real Estate Development (MRED) and will soon finish a second in Masters in City and Metropolitan Planning (MCMP). Garlick has developed and or entitled his own projects coast to coast in UT, WA, MO, KS, and VA. Garlick can be reached at jay@gdpfeasibility.com. For more information please visit www.gdpfeasibility.com.