A researcher must overcome the obstacle of successfully obtaining funding for a Horizon Europe research project.
After overcoming the hurdle, the next step is to formally execute your research, realizing its potential for impact and change. While most of your time is spent managing and executing research, there are other important things to keep in mind. Without a strategic, solid and professional marketing and business plan, even the most innovative research with a revolutionary approach and the potential to significantly impacts the world will fall short.
The importance of a business plan
A business plan is a financial tool used to assess the viability of a project in commercial terms. In other words, it helps to determine the business aspects that may arise from the research project. It also shows the results of the project which can open up new business avenues, producing income for partners or participants.
The value of the marketing plan
Science and research can help you achieve a project’s mission and goals. On the other hand, the marketing plan should be a set of actions detailed enough to help achieve continued reach.
Business and marketing plans are activities that go beyond the scope of an original research project. Taking both may seem like an unnecessary additional burden. Nevertheless, Horizon Europe reviewers expect them because the plans are a force to work with, ensuring that the research project grows and develops beyond the opportunities produced and the immediate audiences. Therefore, business and marketing plans help to maximize the impact of your project.
Why would you want a professional business and marketing plan?
After responding to Horizon Europe calls for proposals, you must have a professional business and marketing plan. These plans can accomplish a lot, including;
1. Impress reviewers during the research proposal review process
When writing your Horizon Europe grant application, you should always keep reviewers in mind, making sure you give them what they are looking for. However, this may not be easy because the expectations of an assessor are unclear. While many requirements are elusive and unwritten, they have been formulated and understood with time and experience in recent times. Presenting strong marketing and commercialization plans, especially in an app impact section, is one of the unwritten expectations. Doing this successfully allows you to earn more points when evaluating an application, taking you closer to a few steps in obtaining funding.
2. Increase your chances of securing additional funding, attract potential partners and team members, and generally improve collaborations.
The surest way to showcase the immediate and potential value of your research is to have a strategic and impressive plan. The plan addresses important aspects of the growth potential of research, ensuring more research grants and business opportunities, especially for business partners. Plus, it translates into getting additional investors and collaborators who want to be a part of your movement. The EIC accelerator introduced blended finance is a prime example of this Horizon Europe spirit.
3. Help you identify potential strengths, opportunities, threats and weaknesses
When you formally organize a business and marketing plan, you need to fully and honestly address the heart and potential of the research project. To do this, you need to ask yourself questions that highlight the strengths and problematic aspects of your research. Plus, you have to go through a process. The first step in the process is to understand your key research value proposition and focus all key messaging and marketing activities on it. This step also helps you identify potential opportunities and prepare to address or create solutions to flaws that others may notice in your search.
4. Effectively communicate your vision and action plan with your team, university, company or partners.
Horizon Europe projects are based on a consortium. Therefore, even if you are the project manager, others will work with you to execute the vision. A business and marketing plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page when it comes to the immediate and future goals and targets of your research. Additionally, the plan helps everyone understand your vision, aligning them with the means to achieve the vision. While a research project may require multiple impact strategies, a plan unites everyone, helping them work together and allocating resources to the same roadmap.
5. Help you take advantage of relevant opportunities, reducing the risk of seizing the wrong opportunities.
Hopefully, some extra eyes and ears will focus on you as you begin to execute your research and commercialize its stepping stones and advancements. Attention can give rise to external invitations to partnerships and collaborations. Most of the time, invitations can be so exciting that they prevent you from evaluating whether the offer can help your search progress and improve further. Therefore, having a business and marketing plan in these situations acts as a compass helping you navigate to your goal. Then you can set the search and offer side by side to check if there is a positive match before proceeding.
6. Spend your budget wisely according to a plan
Your plan should take into account the budget allocation for the various goals and stepping stones you want to achieve. Having a plan and a defined budget means knowing how far the current budget can reach and when you will need to seek additional funding opportunities if necessary. Plus, your budget should include a risk factor that helps you execute your plan safely and prepare for action if things turn out unexpectedly or badly.
After obtaining funding for your Horizon Europe project, you must have a marketing and sales plan for the smooth running of your project. As discussed in this article, marketing and business plans can impress your reviewers, increase your chances of securing additional funding, and help you identify potential strengths and weaknesses.