The Keys to Commercialization: A Series
Tags: Business Development, Business Planning, commercialization, innovation, SBIR, Strategic Planning
Part 2: The Solution – Your Product
Business plans and commercialization plans are different.
A business plan is the story of a company … past, present, and future. Because a company is commonly built around a unique capability, expertise, or technology, it’s natural that its story begins with a description of that capability.
A commercialization plan is the story of a solution, or more specifically, a product or service. However, because a solution cannot exist without a problem, the natural beginning for a commercialization plan is a description of the problem.
Confusing their technology with their product can certainly lead entrepreneurs astray. At the most basic level it sometimes makes the very definition of the product incomprehensible. As a reviewer I’m often frustrated when a commercialization plan describes the solution as a “platform,” a “system,” or a “methodology.” Two pages later I might finally figure out we’re talking about software, or a medical device, or a web-based service, but the confusion lingers. [Remember, readers appreciate labels that allow them to visualize. Familiar product categories provide just that.]
However, a more valuable context for understanding your product is provided by the problem being solved. If I first understand the problem I can more easily grasp not only what your product is but how it solves the problem and why it’s valuable. That information is key to another important concept, the product’s value proposition. As Dr. Seuss said, all that’s missing is the who … and we’ll get to that in our post #3 of our Commercialization Series: The Customer.
Michael Kurek, PhD, MBA, is a partner with BBC. Over his career, Dr. Kurek has demonstrated success on an international scale in defining new product opportunities, developing sales and marketing strategies, and recruiting and managing teams to deliver growth. He advises BBC clients in evaluating commercialization alternatives for their technology, product, or service.