Business Growth Insights: Kai Duebbert at Trimble Dimensions 2023


A Practical Approach to Business Growth in Las Vegas 

From November 6th to 8th, the Kompass BMS team participated as a Bronze Sponsor at Trimble Dimensions 2023, held at the Venetian in Las Vegas. This event served as a platform for professionals in the geospatial and surveying industry to engage in practical discussions and networking. 

Kai’s Session: Real-World Business Scaling 

Kai Duebbert’s session, “8 Years to Triumph: Scaling a Surveying Business from 9 to 130 Staff,” on November 7th, offered a grounded perspective on growing a surveying business. His talk about expanding Murphy Geospatial from 9 to 130 staff provided realistic insights into business scaling. 

Early Challenges in Business 

Kai began by discussing the initial challenges faced in business, highlighting the early days at Murphy Geospatial. He touched on the struggles with resource constraints and market competition, emphasizing the role of perseverance. Kompass BMS tools were mentioned as helpful in managing these early challenges. 

Milestone 1: 10 Staff and Emphasizing Tools 

In the early stages, marked by diverse, cost-effective software excitement, small teams thrive. Yet, as businesses expand, managing client information across platforms reveals inefficiencies. What seems a minor issue with a few clients escalates exponentially, causing time wastage and errors. Kai’s presentation stresses the urgency of addressing this, advocating for integrated or less manual-input software. He highlights Kompass as a model, streamlining operations by consolidating proposals, maps, time sheets, schedules, and equipment management. The focus is on efficiency through a singular system, reducing data entry and ensuring consistency. Beyond Kompass, Kai urges businesses to find integrated solutions for optimization. The discussion touches on software pitfalls and emphasizes clean, unified data management. This positions the milestone as crucial for business efficiency, aligning with a practical approach to growth. 

Milestone 2: 30 Staff and Organizational Structure 

As the company grows to around 30 to 40 staff, a critical but often overlooked milestone is reached. At this point, businesses must transition from organic growth to a structured organization. Drawing from experiences around the 14-staff mark, Kai stresses the challenges of overseeing all operations without clear structures. 

This milestone involves establishing departments, defining roles, and documenting processes, particularly for handling client inquiries. Kai highlights the necessity of delegating to others, assigning responsibilities, and documenting processes for clarity. Beyond operational efficiency, structured departments provide opportunities for showcasing career progression, aiding in staff retention—a significant concern in the industry. 

Illustrating these principles, Kompass offers examples focusing on the accountability of a proposal writer and the role of a project manager. These instances underscore the importance of clear responsibilities, ensuring accountability, and maintaining high standards. This second milestone concentrates on strategically structuring the organization, establishing departments, and distributing responsibilities for sustainable growth. 

Milestone 3: 60 Staff and Strategic Expansion 

The third milestone, around 60 staff, prompts businesses to assess performance and gain crucial business insights. Clean data is highlighted as essential for informed decision-making. A system for easy access to insights is emphasized, enabling strategic adaptation based on identified trends. 

Training becomes imperative at this stage, particularly for project managers and department heads, to enhance financial management skills. The need for training is highlighted, with examples of successful implementation of Kompass, where key business functions were underperforming but this wasn’t something they were aware of until after they gained these crucial financial analytical skills. 

Two examples include the user-friendly Kompass Dashboard, streamlining data analysis, and work-in-progress measurement tool, simplifying project tracking and invoicing which can help with gaining business insights and determining a strategy. 

This milestone underscores leveraging data, investing in leadership training in financial skills, and adopting streamlined tools for complex processes. 

Milestone 4: 100 Staff and Cultivating Culture 

The final milestone, around 100 staff, signals a shift to a medium-sized business, bringing new challenges. This stage underscores the critical need for building and investing in a strong company culture. With increased layers in the hierarchy, clear communication becomes paramount, necessitating tools that enhance information accessibility. 

Nurturing a culture of transparency, collaboration, and independence is a key focus. Investing in tools that enable independent information retrieval fosters self-sufficiency and reduces the need for constant communication. Maintaining agility in growth is vital, requiring responsive tools and designating a person to oversee technical and business processes. This strategy promotes continuous improvement and future growth while reinforcing the desired company culture. 

Examples from Kompass showcase tools streamlining task management and facilitating efficient communication within the team. The project schedule tool allows quick edits, task assignments, and equipment allocation. Human comments offer a platform for effective communication, fostering a collaborative company culture. 

In essence, this milestone emphasizes not only the importance of responsive tools and agility but also highlights the crucial investment in cultivating a resilient company culture that aligns with the evolving needs of a medium-sized business. 


Kai Duebbert’s presentation at Trimble Dimensions 2023 offered a concise blueprint for scaling a surveying business, based on Murphy Geospatial’s growth. The talk identified four key growth milestones: 

10 Staff – Integration of Efficient Tools: Emphasized the importance of integrated software to enhance data management and operational efficiency for small teams. 

30-40 Staff – Organizational Structure: Focused on establishing clear department roles and processes to streamline operations and support staff retention during growth. 

60 Staff – Strategic Planning: Stressed leveraging data for informed strategic decisions and the necessity of financial management training to guide expansion. 

100 Staff – Company Culture: Highlighted the need to develop a strong culture that supports transparency and independence, underpinning sustainable growth in a medium-sized business. 

In summary, effective tool integration, structured organization, strategic insight, and a strong company culture are crucial for scaling a surveying business successfully.