The transition from a scientist to a business owner can be a difficult one and it is important to properly analyse your market and get the right people on board before launching your life sciences business. Commercialisation and communications specialist, José Gonzalez, highlights some key points for scientists looking to make this transition.
Are you an award-winning scientist or pioneer in the field of life sciences? Are you about to receive a grant from your university or the Government to set up a visionary business? If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, don’t be too hasty in setting up your life sciences company; before investing any money in infrastructure, be sure to involve a life sciences marketing expert from the outset to help you asses your market and maximise your chances of success.
Becoming a business owner in a niche market has its own unique challenges, particularly in the life sciences sector – when conducting a market analysis, consider the following key points:
- Are you in the right place at the right time? Consider that the city or even the country you live in may not be an ideal hotspot for your product or service. This can be due to different environmental factors and will have a considerable effect on the amount of sales your company is likely to have. You might have a great idea, but you should be open to the possibility of relocating to a better ecosystem for your company if that idea is to become a successful reality. Finding your nearest ‘cluster’ could be a potential route to market – read my earlier blog on bioclusters here.
- Be prepared to adapt: Managing a brand new company is a very different story to working within a purely scientific remit, and requires skill sets and leadership styles that you are not likely to have acquired in the lab. Be humble and surround yourself with people possessing the relevant “know-how.” Find consultants that can help you set strategies for marketing, business development and communications and follow their advice! And, get advice on setting up administrative processes for start-ups. If these activities are not your strong point, getting them right at the beginning will increase your chances of success.
- Set a realistic goal: When starting a new business, achieving the fastest Return On Investment so that the company can start making a significant income is often at the front of everyone’s minds, but it is not helpful to set unrealistic targets. Life Science start-ups often compete in the same arena as giant trans-national biotechnology and biopharmaceutical companies and it’s important to keep this perspective in mind when thinking about your own vision; setting a realistic goal will enable your strategic and innovation efforts to be realised. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having an aspirational goal for the future – in fact this will provide a sense of direction for you and anybody else working within the company.
A full market analysis and consideration of the above points before setting up a business in the Life Sciences sector will increase your chances of becoming a success story. Ignoring the market and the small details that are outside your comfort zone is a recipe for failure so please don’t rush before conducting a proper assessment!