If you are an entrepreneur with a research-based concept, commercializing your technology is the next step. Transforming your ideas into products can be challenging, but there are various avenues worth exploring.

Consider different angles as you implement your technology ideas:

  • Access to resources — government funding geared towards developing technologies for competitive advantage could apply to your venture
  • Research facilities — public labs or research parks may offer bigger and better facilities
  • Business incubators (link no longer available) — shared office space and business acumen might advance your project while keeping costs lower
  • Collaboration with universities or community colleges — exchanging technology and expertise often proves beneficial to all parties
  • Industry partners — if your technology is useful, a larger company may provide support

However, before convincing the market that your technology is of value, you need to ensure its feasibility. Conducting a patent search and other research to establish that your idea is original could reveal whether it is likely to succeed.

A focus group comprised of a range of experts can determine whether your technology is sound from various points of view. What works from an engineering perspective might not suit the marketing people. Include end-users, as they will often uncover design flaws. Through this exercise you may even discover other applications for your technology, or that you need more research and development.

Not quite ready to go into production? Licensing your concept might present some advantages:

  • Immediate cash flow
  • More opportunities to develop further technologies because you don't have to invest the time and effort required for commercialization
  • If this new technology is outside your main business focus, licensing will allow you to get back to your core.

Another option is to develop a strategic alliance with a larger company that can help you commercialize your technology. Both companies remain independent, but benefit from shared resources. If your technology fills a gap in the other company's product line or provides a solution to a production problem, you may have access to more capital, established distribution channels and marketing experience.

No matter what route you take to commercialize your technology, make sure your strategy includes a sound business plan and some expert advice.