A researcher has to overcome the hurdle to successfully obtain funding for a Horizon Europe research project.
After overcoming the obstacle, the next step is to formally execute your research, realizing its potential for impact and change. Although you spend most of your time managing and performing the search, there are other important aspects to keep in mind. Without a strategic, solid and professional marketing and business plan, even the most innovative research with a revolutionary approach and the potential for substantial impact on the world will fail.
The importance of a business plan
A business plan is a financial tool to assess the viability of a project in commercial terms. In other words, it helps to determine the business aspects that may result from the research project. It also shows project results that can open up new business avenues, generating revenue for partners or participants.
The value of the marketing plan
Science and research can help you achieve a project’s mission and goals. On the other hand, the marketing plan should be a set of actions detailed enough to help achieve continuous reach.
Business and marketing plans are activities that go beyond an original research project. Taking both may seem like an unnecessary extra burden. Nonetheless, Horizon Europe reviewers expect them because the plans are a force to work with, ensuring that the research project grows and expands beyond the opportunities produced and immediate audiences. Therefore, business and marketing plans help maximize the impact of your project.
Why would you want a professional business and marketing plan?
After responding to Horizon Europe calls for proposals, you must have a professional business and marketing plan. These plans can achieve many things including;
1. Impress reviewers during the research proposal review process
When writing your Horizon Europe grant application, you should always keep the reviewers in mind, making sure you give them what they are looking for. However, this may not be easy as a reviewer’s expectations are unclear. Although several requirements are elusive and unwritten, they have been articulated and understood with time and experience in recent times. Presenting robust marketing and go-to-market plans, especially in a section on app impact, is one of the unwritten expectations. Doing this successfully helps earn more points when evaluating an application, bringing you a few steps closer to securing funding.
2. Increase your chances of securing additional funding, attracting potential partners and team members, and improving collaborations in general
The surest way to showcase the immediate and potential value of your research is to have an impressive strategic plan. The plan addresses important aspects of research growth potential, securing more research grants and commercial opportunities, especially for commercial partners. In addition, this translates into obtaining additional investors and collaborators who want to be part of your movement. The EIC accelerator introducing blended finance is a great example of this Horizon Europe spirit.
3. Help you identify strengths, opportunities, threats and potential weaknesses
When formally developing a business and marketing plan, you must fully and honestly address the heart and potential of the research project. To do this, you must ask yourself questions that highlight the strengths and the problematic aspects of your research. Also, you have to go through a process. The first step in the process is to understand your key search value proposition and focus all key messaging and marketing activities there. This step also helps you identify potential opportunities and prepare to fix or create solutions to flaws that others might notice in your research.
4. Effectively communicate your vision and action plan with your team, university, company or partners
Horizon Europe projects are based on a consortium. Therefore, even if you are the project manager, others will work with you to execute the vision. A business and marketing plan helps ensure that all team members are on the same page regarding your immediate and future research goals and targets. Additionally, the plan helps everyone understand your vision, aligning them with ways to achieve the vision. Although a research project may require multiple impact strategies, a plan brings everyone together, helps them work together, and allocates resources to a common roadmap.
5. Help you take advantage of relevant opportunities, reduce the risk of taking the wrong opportunities
Hopefully, there will be extra eyes and ears focused on you as you begin to execute your research and market its stepping stones and advancements. Attention can generate external invitations for partnerships and collaborations. Most of the time, invitations can be so exciting that they prevent you from evaluating whether the offer can help your search progress and improve further. Therefore, having a business and marketing plan in these situations acts as a compass helping you navigate towards your goal. Then you can put the search and the offer side by side to check if there is a positive match before moving forward.
6. Spend your budget wisely according to a plan
Your plan should consider budget allocation for the various goals and milestones you want to achieve. Having a fixed plan and budget means knowing how high the current budget can go and when you will need to seek additional funding opportunities if needed. Additionally, your budget should include a risk factor to help you execute your plan safely and prepare for action if things go wrong or unexpected.
After obtaining funding for your Horizon Europe project, you must have a marketing and commercial plan for the smooth running of your project. As discussed in this article, marketing and business plans can impress your reviewers, increase your chances of securing additional funding, and help you identify potential strengths and weaknesses.