Category: Ezymeetz

 

R and D Grants – how to make them work for your growth

As a SME who has been successful, employing people and gone through 3 decades of business in Adelaide Australia. I have found there are some really important facts that as a business one has to do.

grant-moneyThe logical items would be planning, cashflow, decisive, keep up sales and marketing, and keep ones eyes open. However there is more that is KEY – that is HOPE.

Adelaide in South Australia is known as the City of Churches, however, here in Adelaide, just by looking around one can see the lack of hope on every street. If one considers even recent history, one can see that countries and leaders have understood and harnessed hope. They have actually worked hard at showing belief in the ideas they promote and displayed belief that these ideas will bring a positive outcome to those who are affected by their decisions.

In fact even in our last State and Federal election our leaders should really do a review of the impact that hope had on the votes they received. People would rather vote for Hope that to continue on a same path if it is not the best. But if no hope is offered, better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.

So what does this all have to do with R and D grants? Simple. We as an IT firm, look and research ideas we are presented with. If the idea proves that a product would have commercial viability and we could produce this in a cost effective time, then we will strongly consider producing that product. This is because this brings us hope.

image from governmentsgrant.org

The HOPE with R and D, is that we could sell the product, it could be a great rise to fame and extra success.

However, as a business owner the problem was cashflow and income. This is where the grant comes in. Getting the grant was the next MAJOR hurdle. I had tried to get grants before, in fact paid people for advice and knowledge, only to find I had lost the money and energy I had invested. My solution was BDO. They worked on the grant with me for a set percentage. This was great. I paid nothing up front. Lost nothing if it did not come through, and they got paid and so did I. A great win/win.

So where has that lead me.

My company Accede is still creating specific boutique databases for businesses. We have also created to date 3 products

We are currently working on 2 fronts. Marketing and Sales. Plus product improvements and new prospective products.

R and D does work. The trick is not only creating the product and getting over problems, but also working out how to take this to the next level and sell or market these products. I hope that soon our government assists SME’s with this next step.

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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Product Development

Product development is something I have a lot of experience in. I have gone through this with stress, frustration, hope and exhaustion. I have developed products for myself, for others and in partnership. The products I have developed have been both physical and non physical (e.g. Software and Web based products).

Products can be developed for a few reasons

  • To solve an existing or potential problem
  • To on sell and make profit

img-zunaidProducts we create to solve an existing or potential problem, we find generally have little or no difficulty in achieving and within a budget and timeframe.

Products we create to on sell and make a profit, we find very difficult to achieve to goal of making a good profit in a timely manner. However, it is this product that leads to the hopeful “pot of gold”. So if you are looking at developing a product – here is a check list of things to do FIRST.

  1. Check your product concept out, with the market. This could be done in a range of ways, e.g. Market research by a company, or by yourself.  Check out potential competitors – and really look into this. So often you start and think you have No competition, but later you find that in fact you have heaps of competition. For example, our Ezymeetz, we reviewed the market place before beginning, found that there was a definite niche and need, and no one had a product that did not affect the computer registry and could run without specific hardware. So we had an edge – but was this enough – No.
  2. Plan, with a living plan. So have a budget, time, marketing and sales plan. Make sure you stay on top and don’t just put this plan in the cupboard – keep it in front of you. This is much easier than it sounds. Ezymeetz has had to go through so many upgrades to hit all the market needs, that the plan has adjusted so much, it does not look anything like the initial plan.
  3. Marketing and Sales are not the same thing. Whilst one needs to have marketing and it is totally essential with a new product. One still needs sales to support the marketing and to get the product out there. This may even mean giving away free sites.
  4. Be Logical – there is a time to quit and a time to keep pushing. Be clear to yourself where you are, and what you are prepared to do, to get the product out. Over the years, I have developed a few products but from each failure, I have learnt. I have learnt how to do this in a leaner way. I have learnt about marketing. In fact I have enjoyed the journey, but in the end, this is a business and one needs to be logical about it. I have seen people lose their family, their homes, and even their lives over a product. Keep perspective. Have pointers and rules. Know your own limits.
  5. Don’t be afraid of Success. So often people fail because they are afraid to succeed. So don’t be afraid of success, and remember to win the war you have to win many battles. This is also part of product development.
  6. Hurdles can be opportunities. I have invested a lot of time and money in a product called the Virtual Gym, then the GFC hit. Discretionary spending was lost. Businesses were afraid to invest. So did I give up, no, I took this as an opportunity. I realised that even though discretionary spending was done, businesses in general needed a better and more economic way to run their businesses, and the Virtual Portal we had developed was a prospective solution. So we prepared and began Ezymeetz. We also found that our Government would give support to us, for the R and D we had done in this amazing new technology.
  7. Balance. As some product development is long term – you need to keep all areas of your life in balance and perspective. It is no good to achieve the goal of a great successful product, and reap the financial and emotional success if you can’t enjoy it due to other problems.

So if you are a budding entrepreneur, consider these points, and I hope it saves you some of the learning curve I have gone through.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

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