Potential funding is really exciting. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement, forgetting about the careful planning that must take place prior to applying for an SBIR award. In addition to illustrating why your idea is more advanced than the industry standard and how your team is qualified to carry out the program activities, you will also have to complete a significant section on commercialization and market forecasting. This section is both one of the most often overlooked sections of the proposal and one of the most critical. Many applicants underestimate the importance of the commercialization section in the eyes of the reviewers.
Pro Tip: Reviewers are not just looking for the “best idea”. While broader implications matter, reviewers are looking for the idea that has the highest chance of successful commercialization.
Two important aspects wise entrepreneurs will familiarize themselves with before beginning their SBIR proposal are market size and noteworthy trends. Applicants will be asked to compare their products to others in the industry and forecast what market share they will be able to capture.
Market size is an estimation of how large your market is. More specifically, of how many available customers there are and how much revenue you can gain from each one. An easy way to calculate market size is to determine the total amount of customers and multiply that number by the average annual revenue anticipated by each customer in your market. Market size is important to understand. Obviously, no one is going to capture 100% of their market size, but determining the size of your market helps guide commercialization and advertising procedures to capture a large market share of your total market size. Reviewers want to see that applicants understand the market size and other various components within market research.
It is very important to stay up to date regarding noteworthy trends in your industry. Industry trends quickly change. By being in the know about where the market is headed can only help you. SBIR reviewers will take notice of your industry knowledge as well. Noteworthy trends can include sales fluctuations, advancements in technological innovations, and acquisitions. Follow your industry and its trends closely by subscribing to online communities or magazines, speaking to colleagues, or internet research.
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