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.

9 Ways To Get The Best From Your Staff

Running a company is not just about sales and profits but also about proper human resource management. When it comes to successful organization there is no task more important than developing a solid employee structure. Your employees are your most valuable asset and an integral and vital part of your business. Therefore, you should know how to get the best out of them.

Your staff must be motivated to do what they are required to do. Following are some ways in which you can get the best out of your staff:

1. Communication

Good business owners will always make sure that the communication between them and their employees remain open. A manager/leader who talks to staff on regular basis will always be respected more as opposed to the one who rarely communicates with his staff. The relationship between an employee and a business owner needs to be developed and cultivated over time. Ensuring good communication is the way to become a better leader.

2. Criticism

While criticizing your employees openly in front of others may give you a feeling of power or authority, it won’t do nothing for the self-esteem and credibility of the employees. Criticism should be constructive and it should be delivered in private and in such a way that your employees have a chance to respond.

3. Respect

Respect for your employees means acknowledging their presence, disregarding their status or position, realizing their personal worth, and accepting their individuality. You and your employees are still human. If you expect your staff to be like robots in carrying out every task, then you will soon realize that it’s a very poor method of management. Treating your staff right will result in your employees respecting you in return and getting motivated to perform the required tasks more efficiently.

4. Empowerment

If you want your staff to perform well, then you must provide them with the expertise, training, tools, knowledge, and confidence so they can carry out the required work to a competent level. Employees who are not empowered to perform are likely to end up stressed out as there is no clear direction. As a result, their performance will suffer. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that all your employees are knowledgeable and confident to carry out their tasks.

5. Incentive

Every employee has deadlines or targets to meet. To get your staff to perform better, it is recommended that you put some incentives in place to reward effort and hard work. This will result in your employees exceeding the required targets.

6. Flexibility

When it comes to accommodating the needs of his staff, a good business owner should be flexible. Flexibility can become a great attribute which you can use to get the best out of your staff, as long as your employees do not abuse this.


An employee must be recognized if he performs well, especially on a challenging or difficult task and where he has gone above and beyond what was expected of him. When consistent effort of an employee is not praised or recognized, it is discouraging and deflating for him. The employee will feel that there’s no point in putting more effort than his colleagues if the team leader is not going to acknowledge it.

8. Trust

A good leader/manager trusts his employees to carry out their duties without constant monitoring and supervision. As long as the staff does not betray this trust, the relationship between the employees and the manager will be productive. The staff must also trust the manager/team leader for their best interests and proactively find ways of further improving the relationship.

9. Care

The relationship between an employee and a manager should not be limited to just the working environment. It will not hurt to find out about your staff’s interests outside of work. You can use this to develop a personal connection with your employees. It will show that you are approachable and you care about your employees.

The Bottom Line

A motivated staff will be a productive staff. It is far better to have motivated, empowered, and happy employees than it is to have demoralized, unhappy, and bored employees. This goes far beyond how your staff perceives you. It encapsulates how they perform and how it will be perceived by people in general, both internally and externally.

Health and Safety in the Workplace

The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015 is a complicated piece of legislation that applies to various different circumstances throughout New Zealand. The act and all its related regulations were introduced to ensure highest level of protection for workers and others from workplace health and safety risks. These include the risks to both physical and mental health. So far, the act is reasonably practicable.


Why Was HSWA Introduced?

The HSWA was introduced due to degrading workplace injury stats. At the time its regulations started being written, New Zealand was seeing 70+ people die at work every year. 600-900 workers were dying due to work-related incidents a year and a massive 10% of workers were harmed annually. The goal of Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is to see a 25% drop in these figures by 2020.


Who Does HSWA Make Responsible?

The regulations and laws introduced in HSWA target any ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). These may include:

  • School principles
  • Self-employed people
  • Company directors
  • Property managers or landlords


What Do You Need to Know?

Without going into the individual laws under this act, following are some key things you need to know as a PCBU:


PCBUs Can Be Held Responsible of Care for Employees

Unless you haven’t heard, you probably already know by now that persons conducting a business or undertaking can now be held personally responsible in the event of a workplace injury. It has been well-publicized that the penalties for not taking this act seriously are severe. Organizations can be fined up to $600,000 and individuals can receive up to 5 years of jail time.


“Primary Duty of Care” Covers a Wide Variety of Issues

This is another important regulation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. According to this regulation, employers and individuals are responsible for:

  • Providing a safe work environment without any risk of physical or mental health and safety.
  • Allowing for safe use and storage of substances and plant.
  • Maintaining a safe plant, structures, equipment, and work systems.
  • Monitoring of the health of workers (both physical and mental).
  • Monitoring the conditions at the workplace to prevent illness or injury as a result of workplace activities.
  • Providing information and training necessary to protect against workplace health incidents.
  • Providing the facilities that are necessary for wellbeing of the staff.


There is other related stuff. You should read the legislation for more details.


Building a Safety Culture in Your Business is Now More Crucial Than Ever

Managing the health and safety of workplace shouldn’t just be the responsibility of a few team leaders. This is because if someone gets injured, it has a ripple effect. Not only does it affect the worker, but also their family, co-workers, and the business. “Safety Culture” is not just a slogan, it means encouraging everyone to take control of safety. Whether it is through technology, training, or reporting, if everyone is part of the subject then there will be maximum visibility and a much better time.

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.

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.

The Process of Gaining Patent Protection in NZ

If you are serious about an idea or basic product and want to transform it into an invention, it is very important that you get patent protection. Without patent protection, it is unwise to promote or advertise the idea, as it can be easily stolen. More than that, your idea will not be taken seriously by businesses you approach because without the patent protection, your idea is just that – an idea.

Patenting in New Zealand offers protection within the country. If you want to get patent protection in a foreign country, you will need to apply for a patent in that country or in a region that includes that certain country.

Before we get into the details of what to expect, it is important to note, that this process should be walked through with a Patent Attorney who specialises in this type of work. Our explanation has simplified what to expect, but is in no way being offered in place of solid legal advice!

Procedure for Obtaining a Patent

The process of patenting a new idea or product is not simple, in fact, it can be quite complex. Here is the procedure in a nutshell:

1. Search Existing Patents

The first step is to search in order to see whether your idea or product has already been patented. You may be out of luck if your basic idea or product has already been patented. If it isn’t, then you can proceed to complete your patent application. It may sound easy, but in truth, it’s not. Patent searches are likely to reveal a similar idea or product that has already been patented. If that is the case, then you might need to alter your idea/product to make it less similar.

2. Apply for a Patent

The next step is to apply for a patent. You will need to complete an application and submit it to IPONZ and also pay a $100 fee (provisional). You can either file a new application for a provisional specification or a complete specification. Keep in mind that the application for a patent is not similar to completing an employment application. It is a hectic procedure and must be done correctly so that your idea or product as well as your future rights to it are protected. Any mistakes may result in a quick denial from IPONZ.

3. Pending Application

Once you have submitted your application, it will become a pending application. The procedure after that depends on the route you have chosen for patent filing. In some jurisdictions, a patentability search will be carried out within 6 months of filing the application.

4. Publication

Patent applications are generally published on the IPONZ website approximately 18 months after they are first filed. From that date, anyone can access the contents of your patent application. It is also possible for you to see copies of correspondence with IPONZ as the application is examined.

5. Examination

Once your patent application is published, the next step is to request examination of the application. You can usually do this within 6 months of publication and you can expect to receive the first examination report within the 12 months period of requesting examination. You must also file a response to the examination report, generally within 3-6 months of receiving the examination report. In some cases, multiple examination reports will be issued. If successful, your patent will be granted within 6 months of filing a successful response to your examination report.

6. Acceptance

If there are no objections from the examination, your patent will be accepted and the accepted form of your application will be published in the IPONZ Journal. Once the patent is accepted and your application has been allowed, you will need to pay some form of official fee associated with the issue or grant procedure. Once granted, you will need to pay annual government renewal fees that are usually due each year up to and including the 20th year so that your patent is kept in force.

7. Renewal Fees

Annual renewal fees are payable in most countries, even on pending applications. They are generally paid from the third year onwards. In New Zealand, you are required to pay renewal fees in the 4th, 7th, 10th and 13th years after the date the application was first filed. The term of a patent is 20 years from the date of filing the complete specification.

Your patent is your most valuable asset and it lasts for 20 years. Most people who have gone through the process say that getting patent protection is a bit like buying a house. The procedure can be frustrating and overwhelming, but undeniably worthwhile once completed. To take that next step, contact a reputable and experienced attorney to discuss your idea.

We can recommend people if you need advice on where to go too, so give us a call if this applies to you.