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ProBIO Business Stories


If you wish to market and sell a product that you have developed through research, but require additional investment or other assistance, a business plan can help. It introduces people to your project, organisation or business and explains what you need to move forward.

If you are looking for new investment for your venture a business plan really is necessary. And don't forget, it can be used to make a case for an allocation of internal resources, as well as attracting external ones.

This guide to business plans is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and researchers who wish to bring products developed through research to market.
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Company description

This should introduce the individuals that make up your team and describe your organisation’s skills and area of expertise.

Product and services

What is your product? Why is it unique and relevant? What problem or need does it address?

Market and competition

Who are your customers? What benefit could they get from your product? Who are your competitors?

Business model

How will your product make money and remain financially viable?

Financial plan

Use this section to discuss current revenues, market potential, and expected timescales for development, launch and reaching break-even point.


This is your opportunity to explain what you are looking for (e.g. investors, business partners, customers/clients, employees).

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This group should be identified and described in your business plan. You also need to justify why you think they will be interested in your product.

If you are aiming your product at a specific geographic market make sure you state this and explain why.

Ideally, you will have already engaged with potential customers to get their feedback on your product,
or to help you with its development. You should outline
the results of any customer research and how you have,
or intend to, act on it.

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You should provide details of the key members of your team and discuss your organisations area of expertise, outlining any particular skills that you have.

Many products are developed through research conducted by multiple organisations. If a consortium is involved in your product, make sure you mention any previous business partnerships between the various organisations.

This is also a good point to discuss any necessary skills that your team lacks and any additional resources that are needed to cover this.

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If possible, you should discuss current revenue and what your company has achieved so far in terms of product development, market share and clients. If this isn't possible, you can use “letters of intent” to provide some first reactions from potential customers.

You need to be careful not to incorrectly calculate or overstate your market potential.

As a bare minimum, financial information should include current or predicted revenues, gross margin and earnings. You should also include a budget to cover anticipated costs and incomes at key milestones.

It is also good to set financial objectives and outline your plans for achieving them. The best way to do this is by setting 'next steps' and 'key milestones' at each stage.
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As the name implies, customer value is your product’s worth to your customers. This is related to the cost of their problem or need compared to the benefit they get from your product.

Understanding the customer value of your product is important, as it will be the main driver of price. If possible, you should speak to potential customers and test their acceptance of different price points.
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The most common IPRs are copyrights, patents and trademarks. Your business plan should detail the status of the IPRs linked to your product. As your product was developed through research, these are likely to be patents. Have you taken out patents on your innovations?

Learn more about this:
World Intellectual Property Organization 
European IPR Helpdesk
Patent - An exclusive right that protects an invention, product or process that offers a new technical solution or provides a new way of doing something. Patents last for a limited period, usually 20 years, and apply within the national boundaries of the country for which they were granted. To get patent protection inventors must register their invention by filing a patent application.
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Most innovative products have a competitor (for example when the first scooters were launched they competed with bicycles). Which products will yours compete with?

It is not always easy identifying competitors. A good starting point is the customer need you are addressing. If your product wasn't around how would customers satisfy that need? What product (or products) would they buy?

Make sure you think a little outside the box and don't just restrict yourself to obvious competitors. For example, a sandwich business will be in competition with other companies that make sandwiches and similar items, such as baguettes and bagels, but if they forget about other portable food items, such as pasties and burritos, they will miss potential competitors.

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A simple tool for this is a SWOT analysis. It helps you understand your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Broadly speaking, strengths and weaknesses can be defined as what your company can and cannot do. They are internal factors that you can influence. Opportunities and threats, however, are external factors that could affect your business. With sensible planning, these can be exploited or mitigated.

Know more on this subject:

SWOT analysis guide
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Market trends can give a good overview of market value, but for real accuracy it needs to be linked to the volumes you are realistically likely to produce and sell.

Don't forget to factor in the cost of selling your product to the target market, including staffing requirements.

Once you have identified your business sector, market trend reports are often available from reliable sources, like sector associations, business incubators and the EU.

Learn more about this:
European Union Open Data Portal
European Data Portal

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Basis for assumptions

Justify any assumptions and forecasts that you make. It is important to show how they were reached, so potential investors can check them, if they wish.

Show your sources

Remember to include links to any outside sources you use, such as market trend reports, so that interested readers can look up the claims they make (put links in footnotes).

The team counts!

Don't underestimate the importance of your team. If something is missing from your skill base say so – it shows that you understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Treasure feedbacks

Collect feedback from potential users’ throughout product development. Their input will allow you to improve your product and increase its likelihood of success.

Leave the scientific details out

People reading your business plan are much more likely to have MBAs than PhDs. Technological and scientific explanations should be simple and easy to understand. Focus on competition, market and customer needs – these are more important to investors than your technology.

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Produced for ProBIO project, in collaboration with:

Innovhub SSI

Visit our project website:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N°652683.

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