Things to consider
There are a number of points you need to consider before you prepare your business plan. These range from understanding the nature of your business and your target markets, through to identifying your intellectual property (IP) and its commercial relevance.
The following list is a summary of issues to consider. It is not complete because each business will have its own specific requirements. The answers to these and other questions will help you to identify strategies appropriate for your business, and will result in an informed planning process.
If you are having trouble answering any of the questions, brainstorm with your colleagues and advisers, as you cannot effectively start drafting a business plan if you are unclear about some aspects of your business.
Summary of issues to consider
- What business are you in? Describe this in terms of the major benefit you provide to customers, rather than the product or service. Focus on the value you create for your customers.
- What are the unique features of your business's products or services? Work out what really sets your business apart from those of your competitors.
- What product or service advantages give you an edge in the market? Describe how your products or services compare with those of your competitors.
- What part does your IP play in creating your competitive edge? Outline your IP and how you can use it to sustain your competitive edge.
- What market trends will affect your business and your future IP requirements? Analyse the market as it is now, and brainstorm about future movements.
- What is your target market? Outline who you expect to buy your products and services.
- Will this change in the future? Assess the elements that may shift your target market's loyalties.
- How will you position your business's products or services against those of your competitors? Assess what part IP might play in this, and how much you know about your competitors' IP strategies and patent portfolios. Assess how your IP adds value to your customers and contributes to your competitive edge.
- What security do you have to protect your IP? Review your patents, trade marks and registered designs and assess whether they go far enough to protect your business's competitive advantage.
- What policies do you have in place for developing your IP ability? Review from a current and future perspective and assess against benchmarks to ensure they are adequate.
- How far have you assessed the potential to commercialise your IP through licensing and selling it? Review how these actions might affect your competitive situation.
- Have you conducted an IP audit and evaluated the cost and value of your IP? Classify your patents and pending patents according to whether they are currently being used, are potentially useful, or no use to the business. Once done, you will have a basis on which to decide whether to keep, sell or retire your IP.
Last Updated: 10/12/2012