November 30, 1999 in SBIR/STTR News

SBIR Should Be a Part of the Overall Corporate Business Development Strategy

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Whether you are a brand new company looking for initial
funding sources or you have an established organization and are considering
alternative sources of funding, keep in mind that a strong business development
strategy can be as diverse as your investment portfolio. In today’s world of technology start-ups and
entrepreneurship, a business plan is a living document that is molded through
peer reviews, investor reviews, consultants, false starts, hard knocks, and
maybe even a class or two.  Regardless of how it started or how it
currently looks, the business development section of the plan should reflect the
planned activities for raising revenue for the company. SBIR/STTRs may not provide a lot of profit,
but they can be an important piece of a revenue plan for a small technology
company. SBIR is still “free money” in
the sense that a business owner does not have to give away shares of ownership
or equity in the company. However, an
SBIR proposal is not a 3-5 page cut-and-dry proposal to a customer offering a
product/service for $XX,000 to be delivered on a given date. SBIR proposals, rather, typically require a
minimum of 80 hours of preparation in addition to time required to research a
market and the target agency expectations; this is time that is at the expense
of the company.  SBIR and STTR projects
are research and development funds (grants and contracts) dedicated to proving
the feasibility and potential of high-risk, innovative technologies. At the end of Phase II of an SBIR project,
the corporate business plan should include activities dedicated to commercializing
the technology (i.e. transitioning to the warfighter or selling to the public). Partnerships with prime contractors,
licensing agreements with distributors, presentations to VCs, economic
development grants- they are all valid approaches for bridging the gap to
commercialization of a new technology. 

There is no single-solution for raising revenues that fits
every small company. SBIRs can be a
terrific start or can complement a more aggressive strategy. Either way, when developing a business plan
or preparing an SBIR proposal, the overall strategy of the company and how the
SBIR project fits in that strategy must be evident. The federal SBIR/STTR program was designed to
help small technology companies develop innovative technologies and grow their business
from that initial research. The end goal
is an operational product that meets a market need and a company that has the
ability to provide that product. Let us
know how we can help your company make SBIR part of your business development

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