Market Research is Key to
Articulating a compelling commercialization strategy in your SBIR/STTR proposal is more important than ever for funding success. A credible commercialization plan must be built on a foundation of current and relevant information about the commercial opportunity you're pursuing. The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting that information is called Market Research. Market research is used for developing effective strategies, weighing the pros and cons of a proposed decision, determining the future path of the business, and much more. Competitive Intelligence is an important component of determining market strategy.
Primary research gathers information directly from end-users, prospective customers, or other individuals with knowledge of the market. Techniques used for primary research include:
- Interviews (either by telephone or face-to-face)
- Surveys (online or by mail)
- Questionnaires (online or by mail)
- Focus groups gathering a sampling of potential clients or customers and getting their direct feedback
Relevant information includes product usage patterns, as well as attitudes, preferences, and opinions about current or future products. Questions might include:
- What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?
- What do you like or dislike about current products or services currently on the market?
- What areas would you suggest for improvement?
- What is the appropriate price for a product or service?
Citing primary research data in your commercialization plan increases its credibility because it demonstrates that you've begun the process of engagement with various stakeholders in your target market. This is probably one important reason why graduates of NSF's I-Corps "customer discovery" program have reported a significantly higher funding success rate with Phase I proposals.
Secondary research analyzes data that has already been published. Secondary data allows you to identify competitors, establish benchmarks and identify target segments. Those segments might include people who fall into your targeted demographic-for example, those who live a certain lifestyle, exhibit particular behavioral patterns or are within a predetermined age group.
The validity of secondary market information obviously depends on its source. Does the responsible organization or individual have sufficient knowledge and experience in the market to make them credible? Even when they do, the danger for an entrepreneur is in relying solely on expert opinion and secondary research for the market analysis. The experts will not be buying or using your product so their opinions must be validated by talking with real people before you finalize your commercialization strategy. In this case, the caveat might well be "seller beware."
"Failure to do market research before you begin a business venture or during its operation is like driving a car from Texas to New York without a map or street signs," says William Bill of Wealth Design Group LLC. "You have know which direction to travel and how fast to go. A good market research plan indicates where and who your customers are. It will also tell you when they are most likely and willing to purchase your goods or use your services." As usual doing your homework will pave your way to success.
|Upcoming Webinar Series Provide Guidance on Grants/Contracts Management, NIH and NSF Proposal Prep
BBCetc has developed two new webinar series to guide SBIR/STTR applicants along the path to submission to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
The NSF series will run 1-2 PM and feature:
October 7 - NSF SBIR/STTR Program Overview
October 22 - NSF Program Details & Planning Your Project
November 5 - NSF Proposal Prep Essentials
Click here for NSF Proposal Prep workshop in Ann Arbor, September 22.
If you've taken one of BBCetc's onsite NIH classes, these webinars will guide you through to your actual submission. The NIH series is free to Michigan companies and runs 1:30-2:15 PM.
October 27 - Getting Registered and Contacting NIH
November 3 - The Biosketches and Facilities Section
November 10 - Budgets & Subcontracts
November 17 - The Formidable Forms
November 24 - Pushing the Button and Tracking Your Submission
Click here for NIH Proposal Prep workshop September 23-24, and click here for the NIH Crash Course on October 23, both in Plymouth.
Grants & Contracts Management
Kris Bergman's popular Grants & Contracts Management webinar series is also about to get underway. Join Kris from 1-2 PM for any or all of the following:
October 6 - Prepare a Budget for Your SBIR/STTR Proposal
October 14 - What You Need to Know About Gov't. Audits
October 21 - Practical Strategies for Indirect Rates
October 28 - QuickBooks & Compliance for SBIR/STTR Awardees
Click here to see more classes
Boeing and Lockhead Martin Release DOD Topics of Interest
Boeing and Lockhead Martin have both released (see links below) their topics of Interest for the recently released Dept. of Defense (DOD) SBIR 2014.3
and STTR 2014.B
solicitation. As always, you are encouraged to engage with the DOD SBIR/STTR Technical Points of Contact (TPOC) to discuss your project and ask questions. You have until September 21 to do so. To help with searching the topics, BBC has compiled a list at this link
that includes the technology areas, a brief description of each topic objective, and TPOC names and contact information. View Boeing's SBIR Topics of Interest View Boeing's STTR Topics of InterestView Lockhead Martin's SBIR/STTR Topics of Interest SBIR/STTR proposals are due to the DoD by October 22, 2014, at 6 AM ET.
See You There!
In addition to learning how to participate in and compete for SBIR/STTR funding, this conference, set for Nov. 11-13 in Austin, TX, provides access to agency program managers and staff, industry leaders and veteran SBIR/STTR awardees to learn how to access SBIR/STTR, build partnerships, and create successful commercialization strategies.
For both established awardees and new applicants, the experience is further enhanced by the ability to network with other SBIR/STTR companies to compare notes, offer lessons learned and explore ideas. Registrants may sign up for one on one meetings with any agencies' SBIR program personnel at the conference website www.sbirnationalconference.com.
BBCetc will be at the conference in force along with a contingent of Michigan SBIR/STTR companies. In addition to Becky Aistrup's role on the planning Conference committee, Lisa Kurek will present "Phase II Proposal Development" on Tues., Nov. 11 (9AM-12PM and 1-4 PM), and Kris Bergman will present information on fiscal practices unique to grants as part of the "Accounting Basics" session on Wed., Nov. 12 (8:30-10:30 PM). Be sure to visit us at the BBCetc table in the Showcase!
The 16th Annual NIH SBIR/STTR Conference is slated for OcT. 21-23 in Albuquerque, NM. This three-day event is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and researchers to learn more about the NIH SBIR/STTR programs and ways to obtain funding for commercially viable research.
The conference offers three tracks to meet your research needs: "Navigating through SBIR/STTRs," "Circumventing the Hurdles," and "Path to Commercialization." Check out the 2014 conference website for more specifics about the agenda, speakers and session offerings, and be sure to take in BBCetc's Lisa Kurek's session on "Phase I SBIR/STTR Proposal Development" on Wed., Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.
Protecting Your IP, Managing Technology Contracts and Planning for Commercialization
Sep 25 - Ann Arbor, MI
Proposal Prep for NIH
Sep 23-24 - Ann Arbor, MI
Oct 14-15 - Lexington, TX
How to Win an NSF SBIR/STTR Grant
Sep 29-30 - Newark, DE
NIH SBIR/STTR Crash
Oct 23 - Plymouth, MI
SBIR/STTR 101: Intro & Overview
Sep 30 - New York, NY
Oct 30 - Ypsilanti, MI
- Formatting Tips for SBIR/STTR ProposalsOct 15
- ABC's of SBIR/STTRSee our NIH, NSF and Grants Management webinar series in the story below left.
"There are no secrets
to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
BBCetc is nationally recognized for its expertise in helping technology-based entrepreneurs win federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and use it strategically to propel growth. Its Michigan clients have been awarded over $130 million in funding since 2002. BBCetc capabilities include:
- Commercialization Planning
- Research Grant Assistance
- SBIR/STTR Training
- Grants/Contracts Management
- Tech-Based EconomicDevelopment Programs
Copyright © 2014 BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting, LLC