The Challenge

A small company successfully bringing a technology-based product or service to market, and maintaining a competitive position in that market, requires the focused effort of qualified technical and business management professionals and other resources.

Small company owners are typically the technical subject matter expert (SME) or they are in partnership with a SME. The owner normally has a clear understanding of the technical development path. The business development path, on the other hand, is multi-faceted and often has many challenges to achieve the desired success.

Business Management Areas

In small companies, many business management areas work in harmony to introduce and maintain a product or service in the marketplace. Typical business management areas can include:

  • Executive Management
  • Engineering (in-house & 3rd party)
  • R&D (prototype development)
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Contract Management
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Product Management
  • Project Management
  • Planning & Scheduling
  • Prototype Development
  • Health Safety Security and Environmental
  • Quality Assurance
  • Procurement
  • Fabrication or Manufacturing
  • Vendor Management
  • Technical Publications
  • Document Control
  • Field Service
  • Other related requirements

Divide and Conquer

Development of the business management areas listed above can, at times, be daunting. However, these management areas can be understood, developed and managed more effectively if they are considered in two categories;

1. What areas will be ongoing business requirements and best managed or performed by in-house resources?

2. What areas need development aided by qualified 3rd party service providers on an as-needed basis?

This two-pronged approach allows small companies to use the skills of their own staff members in building the business processes and bring in highly-qualified short term experts where in-house skills may not be as robust or available.

Process Evaluation

Whether the skill areas required for your business are few or many, each area should undergo a process evaluation covering all aspects of business/technical planning and execution. For optimal success, we suggest formation of a process evaluation team comprised of business management, key employees and experienced 3rd parties. A one-person development process usually results in a reduced level of results over a team process and should be avoided.

Don’t forego the opportunity to develop and understand the detailed requirements and necessary skills for your business processes. These skills and processes are the building blocks of your business and key to its success.

The car industry builds and operates their products on paper (figuratively) before production begins. Building a successful technology-based business is similar. Use of qualified resources for developing and evaluating your business area workflows, before starting the venture, offers a higher probability of success.

In our experience, heavy interest is often charged for missed opportunities.

Additional Help

If you would like more information or need help with process development or workflow analysis of the business management areas discussed in this article, contact the author at [email protected].