From a project to a startup: A guide to commercialization

You have completed your project and are now trying to stand out in the brutally competitive world of entrepreneurship. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, FICS has your back here. In this blog, we will discuss the steps that you should follow and how to formulate an effective business plan which you can present to the big players to get your project funded for effective commercialization.

Build a Prototype

First thing’s first, make a prototype of your product that can be used as an effective demonstration of what the actual thing is going to be like. Prototype creation is very necessary as it helps your customers and investors to analyze your product and navigate you in the right way for any corrections. Since you have already completed the development, your prototype can be very realistic and practical.

Make a Business Plan

Now you have a business idea and a prototype to present that idea. But is that enough? How are you going to materialize that idea? 

This is where a business plan comes in. It is a break-down of your endeavour in the form of your business goals, the strategies that you will imply to accomplish them, any problems that you might encounter during the journey and its solution, management plan and finances involved.

When you write these things together and present it to your potential investors, they know that you have done proper homework and are not just playing around. It conveys your professional ethic and boosts your chances of getting a kick start. It also gives you a better visualization of your project and all its aspects.

So, let’s describe what you need to think about in order to perfect your business plan:

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy is the core of any business. Whatever your project is, no matter how amazing and promising the results are, you will not be successful if it cannot reach the right audience. You must choose your market very cleverly and make a plan as to how you will reach the market. Try to relate your product to the general masses’ everyday life so that it attracts them. 

Competitive Analysis

The next step in the list is competitive analysis. This is an important one. Is your project something completely unique or is it already out there? If it is out there, how are you going to make sure that you excel in the competition and sustain? Does your product have a unique value around which your marketing strategy is revolving?

If you have pre-existing competitors in the market, you must make your product different, there has to be a defining feature which makes it different and better. This will increase the reliability points of your product.

Design and Development Plan

Design and development plan tells the investors how you have gotten your project up and running from scratch. How do you plan to manufacture on a bulk level and distribute the product? This part will define how well-versed you are with your product line.

Operations and Management Plan

Before you start large-scale business development, you need a team to execute it with. You need to define the organizational hierarchy and roles. Every operation must be looked after and defined properly with designations so that you don’t face any bad circumstances afterwards. You should have enough manpower to handle both the technical and non-technical side of your business.

Financial Factors

When it comes to investors, no matter how attractive your project is, they are ultimately interested in numbers. You must make a proper finance plan as to how much investment you are going to need to get your project from the building stage to the store counter? And how much is the return on investment? You must have a great financial plan to give a manifold outcome in order to get your project in the market.

Reach out to potential investors

After building a business plan, it’s time to present your business idea to investors. FICS will give you multiple opportunities to hold meetings with the top influencers in your industry. This is your chance to build connections who will either be your investors or will get you investors. Make sure to interact more with people working directly in your product line and pick out the best ones to reach out for investing. Here are some other ways you can reach out to investors.

Apart from the investors, it is always a good idea to talk to other entrepreneurs and learn from them. You can follow the big names on social media and listen to them for tips on building a business and you can also find great entrepreneurs in Pakistan and meet them to discuss. Investors or influencers, you just have to write a convincing email!

Find a Business Incubator 

You have your business plan and you have an investor but not all businesses can function without a physical space. A business incubator is a company that helps new companies and startups to develop by providing services such as management training and office space. It helps you find management services and funding to keep your company on track for a year at least until you can stand on your own feet. 

National Incubation Center (NIC) is the first choice of many students. NUST also greatly helps its students in this matter and has established TechOne Incubator NUST and National Science and Technology Park (NSTP), which will provide you with an opportunity if they are interested in your idea. 

File for IP Protection

It is best that all your proceedings are done under the shed of law. Intellectual property or IP protection protects your business and business idea before going into the market so that you are safe from the loss of resources and opportunities. The right IP filing method is often dictated by the type of project you are handling. You should get your product patented through a proper patent process to keep things legal and secure.

At FICS, we are always ready to help students succeed in any way we can. We hope that this article serves you well in your business ventures. Best of luck with your future endeavours!

By Anas Muzammil
Executive Publications FICS’ 21

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