“It really helps to have business expertise on the team,” said Alan Rhodes, Program Manager of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He was referring to applying for the federal SBIR and STTR funding, particularly phase 1. “The company is more likely to win.”
“Highlight your business expertise,” urged Rhodes, speaking at the Maine Technology Institute Summer Session July 17 in Brunswick, ME.
This sentiment echoes bankers and credit unions and state sources of funding, all who want to see the business expertise prior to providing funding. Why is it so important? Why do they care?
Essentially, it is one thing to invent a product. It is quite another thing for that product to be successful in the market – the latter requires business expertise. More specifically, the company with the next big idea absolutely has to understand why their market will buy it, why is the new product better than the competition in a way the customer cares about, what the profile of their interested customers is, how they buy, what criteria they use, who makes the decision, who influences the decision-maker. Other items to consider are the pricing, the costs, where exactly the company will make money.These are some of the key factors.
It’s important to get customer feedback at each developmental stage, to be sure the product is of the most interest to the potential customers and the right decisions are made in the specs and marketing of the product or service.
The market and business information needs to be highlighted in the SBIR and STTR applications as without market or business knowledge, a company can be left with the best new widget in the world, in their estimation, and no customers. However, a company armed with the information stands a much better chance of commercial success.
Other government agencies in attendance were: National Aeronautics & Space Administration; Department of Homeland Security; US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food & Aquaculture; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Transportation; and Department of Education.
Partners Creating Growth are business strategy, market research and financing experts with national and international capabilities. We offer business expertise worldwide to help organizations grow & disadvantaged regions thrive. Email: Tove@PartnersCreatingGrowth.com