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Business Plan Guide:
8. Technology and R&D

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If R&D is relevant to your business, use this section to describe progress to date, plans and resources. Highlight any technological advances or achievements.

Suggested Length & Structure:

About 2-3 pages should suffice. Keep under one page for a basic/short plan.

Put all detailed or technical material in an appendix.

The subsections below are for general guidance only. They could result in some undesirable duplication or overlap. Accordingly, you may prefer to:

  • Amalgamate some of them (e.g. R&D Plans and R&D Resources).
  • Use less obtrusive sub-headings like R&D Plans:
  • Delete all sub-headings and cover all relevant matters in a series of short paragraphs.

Note: Free-Plan, a comprehensive 150-page Business Plan Guide and Template based on this business plan guide, can be downloaded for free here.

8.1. Overview of Technology

Introduce the key technology trends/developments within your industry or product area and explain how you are responding to them.

Summarize existing/planned patents and describe the ownership status of all intellectual property rights (including trademarks, copyrights etc.).

Keep technical details to the minimum and explain unusual terms as soon as used. Use simple drawings or flow diagrams to help describe any complex issues.

 
 
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8.2. R&D Plans

Summarize R&D expenditure to date (if not done in 4.2. Progress to Date at 4. Present Status).

Specify future expenditure plans. Identify milestones or specific projects to be completed. Where appropriate, provide short economic justifications for major projects.

Use simple tables and place backing material in appendices. For example, the following table could be used to summarize key projects:

Title

Description

Start Date

Finish Date

Remarks

Priority/
Sequence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.3. R&D Resources

Use this subsection to identify the key resources needed to fulfill the 8.2. R&D Plans outlined above.

What technical expertise has been acquired by the business or is needed in the future? What are the qualifications/backgrounds of technical staff and external advisers or collaborators? What vacancies/needs will arise in the future and how will they be filled?

Again, use simple tables along the lines of the following:

Title

Key Resources

Internal
(man years)

External
(man years)

Projected
Cost
($000)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The foregoing table could provide the basis for the following staffing projections:

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX

20XX

20XX

20XX

Head count - Project #1

 

 

 

 

Head count - Project #2

 

 

 

 

........

 

 

 

 

Total head count

 

 

 

 

This data could also be presented in the following format linked to staff grades:

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX

20XX

20XX

20XX

Head count - Grade A

 

 

 

 

Head count - Grade B

 

 

 

 

........

 

 

 

 

Total head count

 

 

 

 

Finally, the following payroll cost table could be constructed:

Years to end xxMonth:

Payroll Cost
($000/person)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

Payroll cost - Grade A

 

 

 

 

 

Payroll cost - Grade B

 

 

 

 

 

........

 

 

 

 

 

Total payroll cost

 

 

 

 

 

These tables have been presented for illustrative purposes. In practice, they may be more appropriately located in an appendix.

8.4. R&D Expense Projections

Use this subsection to pull together the financial implications of 8.2 R&D Plans and 8.3 R&D Resources above. Work through the detail in an appendix and summarize in a simple table along the following lines:

Years to end xxMonth:

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

20XX
($000)

Key Project #1
- Internal payroll
- External consultancy
- Other expenses
Total - Key Project #1

 

 

 

 

Key Project #2
- Internal payroll
- External consultancy
- Other expenses
Total - Key Project #2

 

 

 

 

Key Project #3
- Internal payroll
- External consultancy
- Other expenses
Total - Key Project #3

 

 

 

 

Total R&D payroll & expenses ($000)

 

 

 

 

Where relevant, cost justify key projects by indicating their expected return-on-investment. In simplest terms, this could be the payback interval e.g. if expenditure of $50,000 could generate incremental gross profits of $25,000 a year, the payback would be 2 years.

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