How to commercialise your business idea? (Part 3)

March 2, 2014

Assess the idea

This is where you definitely need external assistance. Assessing a new idea requires a technical and business assessment; is it feasible and viable?  There are ways for you to get support in these tasks.

Technical assessments usually involve a third-level institution. Depending on the country, there may be vouchers, feasibility grants, technology transfer programmes to assist with this. Again, this is done within the protection of a public body and there would be a formal contract entered into and a safe disclosure process. Academics or technicians would work with you to develop the technical features of the idea and develop a prototype and test it. If the technical side can be verified then you need to do a market analysis.

Market assessment is usually done through a business plan. In most countries, pre-enterprise or ‘start your own business’ courses are offered by a range of enterprise-support organisations; business incubators, innovation centres, local, regional or national enterprise-support agencies, regional development bodies etc. If they are not free then they are usually heavily subsidised. In this case, you can do the course and develop a business plan to assess the idea. You may also contract a consultant to do the work but this is more expensive unless there is a formal subsidised ‘mentor’ programme available locally.  Just remember one thing; if a consultant writes your business plan then the consultant will gain the internal insights into your business idea and will present you with a document that they have written assessing your idea.  If you write the business plan yourself by going through a business planning process then you gain the internal insights and your internalise the learning.  Much of the real benefit of writing a business plan is not in the final document but in the learning that goes into writing the document in the first instance.

Having done a technical assessment to verify that the idea is feasible and a business assessment to determine if a market exists and it is a viable market, you can then make an informed decision as to whether you bring the idea to the next stage, commercialisation. If you are going to go ahead and bring the now new product or service to the market, the next thing to do is protect your intellectual property.


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