Research and development help you stay ahead of your competition and keep giving customers new and exciting products. Even a small business can create a research and development process. Often, there are tax credits for research and development that can make the process much easier.
“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts. ” -Bill Gates
What is research and development?
Research and development is the process that a company will go through to get insight that can lead to a new product, technology, system, or ‘other’. These will either be used by the company, or it will be a saleable product. Companies of all sizes will take part in R&D, whether they know it or not.
Research is either applied or basic. Basic will help a company gather new knowledge without a set goal for the information, and applied is done with a specific goal in mind.
Like every business decision that you make, you need to have goals. Your main goal for R&D is to develop products and procedures that will bring in more profit. The development of new products can be what helps you break into new markets, or get something innovative for your customers.
You need to know what your customers need from you. Do they need new products, or do they need your products to work in a different way? Why do your customers sometimes shop with your competitors? Why did they switch from your competitors to you? You have to understand their needs so that your goals make sense. Look at what your customers buy, when, and where. This will help you define your R&D process.
Who is going to do the research? If you have a smaller business it will most likely be you and maybe one other person doing it all. This can make it a longer process in the end, but the goals will remain the same.
If you have a budget but no real direction you can outsource your research and development. This can give you access to a large team, more tools, technologies, and more in-depth research. Outsourcing can also mean that you don’t lose any time working on new business ideas, keeping client relationships healthy, and planning for after the R&D results come back.
Outsourcing R&D is usually much more appealing to smaller companies because it allows them to keep working rather than focus on R&D.
Research and development is a long-term commitment that can make a huge and positive impact on your business. Although if you are looking to make it the most cost-effective way to handle your R&D then setting goals is the best way to do it.
Rember when planning your R&D to factor in how long it takes to get your R&D grants and credits.
“Research is creating new knowledge.” -Neil Armstrong