The business world is as volatile as it is fruitful. In the modern day, running a business proves even more challenging, particularly with the dark clouds of Brexit, recessions and budget cuts looming over the commercial environment. With all these factors considered, running a business already seems an uphill battle, but businesses in the research and development sector face a number of unique challenges, as well as the regular obstacles which every business faces. With businesses seemingly on the back foot, randd uk have outlined some of the most important things to consider when running your very own research and development company.
What is R&D?
Before we begin detailing the top tips for surviving in the world of R&D, we must first explain what a research and development company actually is. Strictly speaking, research and development in a business sense refers to the investigative activities a company undertakes to improve, innovate and implement any projects or plans. Effectively, this translates to companies researching their industry, products and services – developing them to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their company. However, companies that are specific to research and development fulfill a much stricter criteria than customer research and regular development of products and services. R&D companies usually belong to the scientific or technological sectors, and strive to create products or provide a service to answer age old questions or to make a significant impact to people’s lives; R&D is more than just providing customers with the latest gadget or source of entertainment. Now that the differences between R&D companies and every other type of business have been defined, we can now begin to outline the most important rules for businesses in the research and development sector.
The Age Old Question
Having already touched on this aspect previously, answering an age old question or solving a problem should be the foundation with which you build your company upon. Instead of creating a product which can be sold on a supermarket shelf, your product or service should be specific to a person’s needs in an effort to make their life easier and more convenient. In short, your company needs to make a difference, to the point that it drastically improves a customer’s quality of life and isn’t just something else they could easily live without.
Google is a prime example of answering the age old question. Their search engine has been developed thoroughly for over 20 years to be able to provide users with the most relevant result to their queries as quickly as possible. The signature search engine has provided users with instantaneous results to millions of queries, from everything to ‘where is the nearest hairdressers’ to ‘how did WWII start?’. This tool is invaluable to the general public, students, professionals, experts, researchers and everyone inbetween. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin identified a way to drastically improve the quality of life for millions of people, and the size of the company has now reached a point to which people would struggle to cope without the service. Although this example may seem a far cry from the earliest stages of a business, this is the sort of service you need to be aiming to provide for your clientele.
Get All The Help You Can
As previously discussed, running a business is hard enough without the appropriate support and backing, so be sure to capitalise on all the help available to you and your company. With a commitment to companies in the research and development sector being outlined by every party in the last general election and an extra £2.9billion being set aside for these companies, small businesses and startups are being presented with the perfect launchpad for succeeding in this industry. With a number of schemes and programmes created to give these companies the best possible chance of succeeding in the research and development sector, it is important for any startup to recognise these support networks and enlist as much help and guidance as they can, with a turbulent economic landscape making the possibility of a smooth flight through the commercial world even more challenging than before.
Focus On The Customer
From a marketing and sales perspective, one of the most important commercial aspects of running a business in the research and development sector is to focus on how your product or service benefits your customer instead of listing all the reasons as to why you are better than everyone else. In relation to our previous point, the whole purpose and premise of your company should be to make a difference to your demographic, so highlight these benefits and focus on how your company can make all the difference. A good example to follow for marketing and for advertising is Apple. Every advert from Apple consists of how their phones or laptops allow you to do things, like how the 12 megapixel camera on the new iPhone X allows you to take professional quality photos on your very own phone, for example. Apple know they are industry leaders, so flexing all their strengths and all their fancy, new gimmicks just isn’t going to work, instead they focus on how their products improve the lives of their users. Spamming your clients with a million different reasons as to why your company is the best company ever will make it seem like you are trying convince yourselves as well as the customers, so believe in your cause and focus on the customer, not you.
Following on from our last point, believing in yourself is actually a large part of succeeding in the research and development sector. There will always be speed bumps and hiccups, but it is important to stay focused and to develop a thick enough skin to be able to keep going when the chips are down. Many, if not all, of the most famous entrepreneurs experienced rejection and slammed doors, but perseverance is what eventually made them household names. There is also statistical evidence which supports the claim that you need to persevere, too. Figures provided by the Motley Fool website explains how the longer businesses last, the more likely they are to last for even longer. This means that if you make it past your 5th or 10th year of operation, then the likelihood is that your business will continue to operate successfully for many more years. Avoid falling into the pattern of the majority of businesses and ceasing in your first year and keep working hard and pushing forward.
Companies in the research and development sector can also seek help from randd uk to reclaim some of their tax credits. Contact randd uk on 01332 477 070 or leave us a message via our online form to find out more.