Commercialising your Intellectual Property

Commercializing IP

Commercialization is the process of introducing a new product/service into the market. It means making an idea or concept into a real business opportunity. For example, you have a new business idea for a new tool to help with trades. In order to go through the commercialization process, you will need to undergo a process of market research, development, consultation, drawing up business, distributing, and marketing plans, prototyping, and protecting your intellectual property before you make it commercially available in the mass market.

Following are some general steps involved in the commercialization process:

1. Describing the Product or Service

A clear and concise description of the product/service is written in the first step. The description should be easily understood by a person who is unfamiliar with the concept and should demonstrate the benefits and features of the product/service.

2. Protecting Intellectual Property (IP)

Before you talk to others about your business idea, it is crucial that you protect it. You will need to find the method of IP protection that is the most suitable for your business and apply for it. It is important that you make sure that any third-party that is discussing your idea or product with you will not disclose confidential information.

3. Market Research

The next step is to research the market so that the market, competitors, and customers that the new product/service will face are identified. You will need to use a marketing plan to draw up your strategy so you can identify and reach your customers. It is also very important that you confirm that your product fills a need and has a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the product’s viability needs to be financially evaluated. You will need to include detailed financial projections and cost estimates in this plan. These estimates will be crucial as you look for money from banks or other sources to support the product/service production.

4. Identifying Commercialization Pathway

A plan for product development is also needed that includes how the product will be released to the public. Should the product technology be developed and produced by the technology owner, licensed to someone else, or sold to someone else to develop? You will have to make preliminary estimates of the market size as well as its willingness to accept the product. You will also need to determine the costs of the full development of the product. Your choice of licensing, assignment, manufacturing, or joint venture may have an impact on your future strategy. For instance, if you are thinking of using overseas manufacturers for your product’s production, you will need to identify the key issues such as freight and distribution, quality control, etc.

5. Refining the Product

Once your product is introduced for the first time, you may need to refine it. You will also want to protect the intellectual property involved in the development of the product, finalize its design, test the product, and add/improve any features to make the product more marketable.

6. Developing a Business Plan with a Commercialization Strategy

Additional resources may come in handy at this point in the commercialization process. You may need to consult a professional to acquire financing, develop company structure or business plan, or create a marketing plan for your product. You may determine that you need to finalize legal agreements and partnerships. Market and product testing are ongoing during this stage of the commercialization process.

7. Exploring Funding Options

Depending on the nature of your concept or product, key funding options that you may consider include:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants
  • Business loans
  • Other sources of financing such as investor groups.

8. Business Growth Opportunities

Assuming the product is well-accepted in the targeted market, you may want to develop your business to include the expansion or acquisition of manufacturing facilities, financial analysis, marketing and promotion, strategic partnerships and planning. You will need to reevaluate your resource needs and organizational structure. Assuming that your business is prospering and growing, it may be appropriate to pursue improved technology or new products. You may also need to add staff. As your business grows, you will need to continually evaluate what you need to take advantage of the opportunities you might encounter in the future.

Most of the things we take for granted nowadays begin at an inventor’s bench. Achieving such success is not easy but once an innovation yields desirable results on the market, it is well worth the effort required to get it there.

Top Reasons – Why use a Business Loan Broker for an Unsecured Business Loan

Loans can help your business improve by leaps and bounds. With a loan, you can grow your business and then pay back your debt in no time. However, striking the best deal can be difficult without an unsecured business loan broker to help you out.

Finances are necessary, especially when it comes to business. Without the proper funding, your company will have a hard time thriving. So, applying for an unsecured business loan can really help you out.

In this article, we will explain what unsecured business loans are and why you should work with a capable business loan broker when you apply for one.

What Is An Unsecured Business Loan?

There are two kinds of business loans – secured and unsecured. Secured business loans are loans that have collateral. This means that when the loan is made, the borrower puts up an asset as collateral. The asset could be equipment, vehicles, stock or more. If the borrower fails to pay off their debt, the lender can then seize the asset.

Conversely, unsecured loans are business loans that have no collateral. However, the lender may still have a claim on the borrower’s assets if their debt is not paid. Professionals like unsecured business loan brokers can help you negotiate a loan and get a good deal.

How Can A Business Loan Broker Help Me With My Business Loans?

A business loan broker is a professional who helps clients find the best lenders for their business. Some loan deals could fit better for different situations, and a skilled business loan broker will be able to help you find the absolute best value for your specific circumstances.

There are many reasons why you should choose to consult a financial expert before striking a deal with a lender; a few of these excellent reasons include:

An Unsecured Business Loan Broker Can Save You Time. If you are inexperienced with finances, searching around and weighing your options against one another can take a lot of time if you do not know what to look for and what to avoid.

But, a professional with heaps of experience and knowledge will know who to avoid and who to seek out. As a result, they will be able to find the best deal in a much shorter amount of time than most people.

You Will Be Less Stressed. Whether you’re paying for something personal or growing your business, dealing with finances can be very stressful. If you make the wrong deal, you could end up wasting money or putting yourself in a situation; and, if you choose a bad lender, you might end up in hot water.

By trusting a skilful unsecured business loan broker, you can put your financial situation into their capable hands. With their reliable advice, you can rest easy knowing that your finances will be well taken care of.

A Business Loan Broker With A Good Reputation Could Get You Special Rates. A broker with good contacts and positive relationships with multiple lenders might be able to get special rates and deals for you that you probably would not have gotten on your own. Naturally, this can save you money.

With An Experienced Broker, You Will Receive Expert Advice. Accomplished business loan brokers can answer any questions you have and give you top tier advice. This information will be well suited to you because your unsecured business loan broker will know all of the details of your circumstances. So, your friendly business loan broker can tailor their advice to help your situation specifically.

If You Are In A Bad Financial Situation, Your Business Loan Broker Can Help You Find The Best Solution. For example, if you have debt or have bad credit, they can work with you to find a solution that will help you despite your unfortunate position.

If you make mistakes with your finances, it could lead to more significant and troublesome problems that worsen in the future. So, working with a financial expert is your best option.

Where Can I Find Experienced And Qualified Business Loan Brokers To Help Me?

Unsecured business loans can help you kickstart your business, and with the help of a reliable business loan broker, you can get the best deal possible! If you want to apply for an unsecured loan but would like some extra assistance, our team at Spinach is here to help.

Our team happily provides New Zealanders with outstanding business loans to help them grow their companies and become successful. If you would like to speak to us about your business, or if you would like to apply for a loan now, please visit our contact page or give us a call at 0800 774 622.

We have helped heaps of happy clients in the past, and we are eager to help you as well, so receive great advice and apply for a loan with us at Spinach!

6 Things You Need To Do When Starting A Business

Starting a business

Starting a business can be so exciting. You have a product or service that you want to get to work on and if done well, it could change your fortunes.

Working with start ups all the time, we have some insights into things you can do early to prepare for success. Read on for the things we think you need to do to get started.

Identify the need

First you need to do some research to find out if there is a need for what you want to offer. Get behind your computer and find out what comparable product or services there are. You will soon find out if it is a saturated market or if there is a niche there waiting for you.

Scope the competition

Now you need to understand what your competition are doing and how you plan on doing it differently. You need to have a clear point of difference and sing it from the rooftops. It is important that you are very clear about what you do and who you do it for, that way your ideal client or customer will find you easily.

Review the finances

Lastly, you want to know if you can make money with this idea. There will be a maximum amount your customer is willing to pay for what you offer, reverse engineer this to see what it will cost you to provide your offer and you will see if there is any money to be made.

Once you undertake those three things, you will then know if you have a business and then it’s the right time to talk about funding.

Three things you need to be successful for funding your start up

  1. You need to showcase the skills and experience that you will bring for the benefit of your new business. This may be qualifications, past employment, work experience etc. There will be a strong focus on you when the lender assesses you for a loan. The likelihood that you will make the business a success is gauged by your related experience, so don’t be shy. Dig through your CV and let us know all the strengths you have that will propel your business.
  2. You need to be able to cover your personal expenses as well as loan repayments while the business gets up and running. This is usually acceptable in the form of a spouse earning an income outside of the business. If your business has a contract for upcoming work, or sometimes franchises offer guaranteed minimum income, then that will help too.
  3. You need to have some skin in the game. Lenders are reluctant to give 100% funding to start a new project. It puts all the financial risk on them. Take the time to accumulate some money of your own that you can use toward your business goals. This shows strong character and lines you up as a desirable candidate for a loan.

 

If you want to discuss your personal situation in more detail, call one of our lending specialists on 0800 774 622 or apply today.

Changes to New Zealand’s Payroll Reporting System

With the growing integration between Reckon, MYOB, and XERO comes changes to the way Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will be processing data in the future. Payday Filing is one significant change which impacts on employers and the way they file their employer reports.

 

What is Payday Filing?

It is an electronic payroll reporting system. Currently, employers file PAYE information and employee earnings to Inland Revenue on monthly basis, regardless of how frequently they pay their employees. Payday Filing is optional at the moment but it will become mandatory from 1 April 2019. You will still be making your PAYE payments the same way you do now to the IRD, but there will be a change of when you file the paperwork with them.

 

What Are the Changes?

The New Zealand Government has passed a bill to make Payday Filing mandatory from 1 April 2019. As mentioned above, employers currently report PAYE information about their employees each month no matter how frequently they pay their staff. With the new changes, Inland Revenue requires employers to send payroll information at each payday, rather than on monthly basis. Complying to this change is mandatory under the Employer Monthly Schedule (IR348). For example, if you pay your employees on weekly basis, then you will need to report PAYE information four times a month.

 

The change will be applied and become mandatory on 1 April 2019. However, you can choose this method of Payday Filing before that. You will need to contact Inland Revenue directly if you want to start Payday Filing earlier.

 

Why Are They Making the Change?

Inland Revenue’s processes and systems are being redeveloped to take advantage of modern digital technology. With these changes, the information will be received timely allowing IRD to work out entitlements and tax fast and accurately. As a result, it will provide more confidence to employers that they are paying the correct amounts throughout the year. Filing will become fully automated and a part of your normal payroll process, so you won’t need to remember to send returns in at the end of each month.

 

How Might This Affect You?

Employers with $50,000 or more of PAYE deductions a year are required to conform to these changes sometime between 1 April 2018 (voluntary opt-in date) and 1 April 2019 (mandatory compliance date). This means as an employer, you will need to upgrade to a Payday Reporting compliant payroll system. Furthermore, you will also need to review some of your payroll procedures.

 

The extent to which the Payday Filing changes might affect you depends on the size of your company and whether or not you use a payroll software. If you are not running a computerized payroll system, then it is recommended that you look to do so preferably earlier than 1 April 2019 so you get used to electronic filing. On the other hand, if you already have a computerized payroll system, then it is recommended that you make sure it is compliant.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Business

As a business owner, the beginning of a new year is the best time to assess the state of your operations and determine what you can do to make your business even stronger moving forward.

Following are some new year’s resolutions to consider for your business:

1. Growth

Growth is probably the number one goal of every business. You need to be able to consistently increase sales if you want your business to grow. Take some time to review and understand how your business has changed since the end of the last year. Get professional advice from an accountant. They can help with financial planning to keep you on the right track.

  • Marketing

Expanding your customer base is the key to your business growth. Implement various marketing strategies to create consistent promotion throughout 2019. Start the new year by updating your website and making it SEO friendly. If you don’t have a marketing expert on staff, 2019 may be the year to start looking for one.

  • Cashflow Management

Many businesses fail each year and running out of cash is usually one of the primary reasons. If your financial records are not up to date or if you don’t work with cashflow forecasts, then it will be really difficult for you to address cashflow problems. It is recommended that you create reliable cashflow forecasts so you can identify periods when your business risks running out of cash. Proper cashflow management will also allow you to avert a cashflow crisis before it’s too late.

  • Upgrade Your Technology and Workflows

You can’t expect your employees to reach their full potential if your firm is relying on legacy technology. Embracing new technologies such as collaboration platforms, cloud computing, etc. will allow you to streamline most of your business processes. It will also result in increased productivity as your employees will be able to access their critical documents and get their work done from any connected device.

2. Succession Plan

Now might be a good time to review, evaluate, and update your business plan to make sure it remains consistent with your business goals for both short-term and long-term future. It is highly recommended that you have a succession plan in place and operate the business to create value for the new leaders in your staff.

  • Training Staff

Make sure your staff is well-trained as it will lead to increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Take on apprentices and support employees to gain qualifications while working. When your employees have confidence in their ability, it’s a massive benefit to your company as a whole. Obviously, if your employees struggle to perform important tasks, they will be less productive. Therefore, employee training is very important.

3. Reviewing Health & Safety Policies

Health and safety in the workplace should always come first. If you act on improving the health and safety in the workplace, it will make the environment safe and ideal for your employees and will also ensure personal safety. It is recommended that you review your company’s health and safety policies, rules, and regulations. Know the rights of your employees and find out if your company is providing sufficient information on keeping employees safe in the workplace.

As an employer, it is your legal obligation to provide a safe working environment to your employees. Implementing the proper health and safety policies is a good start. Visit our health and safety blog to learn about New Zealand health and safety legislation and how you can implement the policies in your business.

4. Modernize Working Arrangements for Staff

Last but not least, annual reviews of employees should be a part of your business policy. Have open discussions with your staff. It will lead to clarification of expectations as well as better working relationships. Reviewing your role in employee relationships is also a good idea. Consider flexible working arrangements e.g. flexible hours, job sharing, working from home, etc. as a way to modernize working arrangements for your staff.

Final Word

Simply making new year’s resolutions and hoping they come true is not enough. In fact, only a small percentage of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. The good news is, you are in control of your actions, so you have the ability to follow through on the new year’s resolutions for your business. Stick to the above-mentioned resolutions and your company will be in an even stronger position when next year rolls around.

 

Spinach are your specialist business brokerage. Give our friendly staff a call on 0800 774 622 today for advice on how we can help your business grow.

Important Things to Know About Your Credit Profile

Credit score is something a lot of people tend to ignore. But knowing about it is very important because it is one of those things that eventually sneaks into your life and ruins all the fun. If you want a future with certain assets in it to make you comfortable and happy, such as a house, a car, money for your children to go to college, etc., you have to get a loan or invest in the fundamentals of your finances.

Knowing about your credit score is very important as it can be used to assess whether you can repay your loans, which you can then utilize to significantly improve your financial situation. All in all, your credit score may mean the difference between getting a loan or not.

What is a Credit Score?

Your credit score is an important piece of information that helps lenders when they are assessing creditworthiness for any kind of lending. It takes into consideration whether you are likely to repay the loan in full or pay your bills on time.

How Credit Score is Determined?

Credit-reporting agencies calculate and maintain your credit score. Higher credit score means better credit profile. Better credit profile has several benefits including lower interest rates charged by your money lender or creditor.

Your credit score is divided into several categories such as payment history, length of credit history, amount owed, new credit, types of credit debt used, etc. Different companies take different factors into consideration. Credit bureaus operating in New Zealand collect information to determine your credit score. They then provide this information to lenders that request it.

Bad Score? Bad News

You may already know that bad credit score can affect your ability to get more credit. What you may not know is that it can affect various other aspects of your life as well. For example, it may encourage a potential employer to inspect your past business habits more carefully and reassess hiring you. This is because bad credit score reflects poor reliability on your part as an employee.

Risk Indicators

There are some certain aspects of your lending behavior or credit history that may affect your credit score negatively. When your credit score is negatively affected, your credit risk to the lending company is increased, hence ultimately increasing your interest rates.

Following are some common risk indicators;

  • Not paying your installments and bills on time
  • Opening lots of new credit accounts in a very short time
  • Short-lived accounts
  • Defaulting on payments
  • A short credit history

How Do You Improve Your Credit Score?

If you have a bad credit score, don’t lose heart because there are some things you can do to improve your credit score over time. The first thing you should do is sort out your debts. If you are experiencing problems in meeting the requirements of loan repayment, find ways to get back into a regular payment cycle. By showing a clear record of repayment over a period of time, you can demonstrate (via repayment history) that you have reformed your credit behavior. Over time, your past credit problems will become less relevant and your recent payment patterns will become more relevant to your credit score.

It is important to remember that banks aren’t the only credit providers. Utility or telecommunication companies are also credit providers. This means you have to make sure that all of your bills are paid on time.

Tips and Facts

Following are some useful tips and facts regarding credit score:

  • If you are thinking about making a big purchase (house, car, etc.) for which you have to apply for loan, then it is recommended that you ask the lender for the type of credit score they use. By doing this, you will be able to determine how your credit score will affect this purchase as well as your future loans or purchases.
  • Different financial institutions and companies use different indicators to determine whether or not you will receive a loan. Some of the factors that may be taken into account include your age, income, lending history, net worth, employment history, etc. These factors are weighted differently in different companies.
  • If you are planning on getting married, then it is recommended that you look at each other’s credit scores so you can work out what you will both collectively owe, how to pay it off, as well as how your credit score will be factored into your budget.
  • If you have a feeling that your credit score may not be so great, keep in mind that you can always make a comeback. The first step is to evaluate your situation and find ways to get your finances in order.

At Spinach we want to help our clients get the best possible outcome for their loan applications and for their goals alike. If you would like to discuss this topic further and get an indication of where you would stand with our lenders, please do call us on 0800 SPINACH (0800 774622) or email info@spinach.co.nz

5 Key Points For Preparing a Winning Business Plan

Preparing a Business Plan

Your business plan is your ultimate decision-making tool. Without it, you are more likely to struggle to achieve your goals. A clear and concise business plan is your way to show your staff, your investors, and your bank that you know what you are doing. Anyone you approach for money will expect to see your business plan and without it, you won’t be getting any money because everyone knows that investing in a rudderless business is simply too risky. That’s why you must take certain things into consideration to make sure your business plan is effective.

Following are some tips that will help you when preparing a business plan:

1. Be Clear on What You Want to Achieve

Ask yourself what you want to achieve and what your company stands for. Think of everything you would want a potential employee, customer, partner, or investor to know about it. This include the following:

  • Vision Statement: Create a short and aspirational vision statement. It should be realistic. You should take your time to get it right.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: This includes the reasons why you believe that the customers will come to you instead of your competitors.
  • Target Market Identification: Although you would want to expand your customer base as much as possible, it pays to have a clear picture of the target market as it will make it easier for you to communicate with them.
  • Explanation of Products/Services: Make sure the explanation is in line with your Unique Selling Proposition and meets the needs of your target market.
  • Goals: List your goals. They should be measurable, realistic, and consistent with your financial plan.

2. Set Out the Details

The next step is to see how your vision will work. Specify what your business structure is and who will help you bring your vision to life. Following are some others things you should include:

  • Structure and History: Outlines the background of your business and introduce key people like managers, employees, investors, and partners.
  • Analysis of Competitors: Do a complete analysis of the competitive landscape, including information on the characteristics and size of the target market, industry, as well as your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Business Assets: Identify what you have as well as what you need, including plant and equipment, premises, intellectual property, information systems, insurance and licenses.
  • SWOT Analysis: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your idea along with potential opportunities and threats.
  • Goals and Milestones: Set out your key business goals for the period covered by the plan along with different milestones you want to reach. Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable.
  • Financial Forecasts: List your capital requirements and start-up costs as well as your projected cash flow, loss and profit, break-even analysis, and balance sheet forecasts.
  • Business Strategies: These should include sales, marketing, and customer retention strategies.

We recommend that you use Stats NZ’s Data for Business website in order to find useful business statistics and tools.

3. Keep it Short and Easy to Understand

When writing a business plan, make sure to keep it realistic, short, and easy to understand. It is important to consider that someone reading your business plan in the future might not be familiar with jargon or more technical terms. That’s why we recommend you write the business plan in plain English. It is also recommended that you do your research and provide evidence to support your conclusions (if possible) and include an action plan.

4. Review and Make Necessary Changes

After the above steps, you are finally ready to review your work and finalize the summary. Carefully review the business plan and make sure it presents a compelling and cohesive picture of your business in a professional format. After that, take the most important component of each section and use them to create an engaging executive summary. Your goal here is to create the summary that draws the reader into the rest of your business plan.

5. Put the Plan to Work

Once your business plan is ready, treat it as a guide to running your business. Keep in mind that business plans are dynamic documents which means that you should adjust your business plan as your business develops. If the circumstances and goals change, update the plan. The Stats NZ website has some great tools and information to get your business started.

 

As always, Spinach believe in business, and we are inspired by goals of growth. We want to be part of your success. To get us on board, please call us on 0800 SPINACH (0800 774 622) or email us info@spinach.co.nz