Island Savings

Research & Development

An effective research and development strategy is essential in creating a successful business—it helps you stay on top of what your customers want and what your competitors are doing.

 

Creating a strategy

Generally, a research and development (R&D) strategy is useful in creating new products, new services and even new processes to gain a competitive edge.

  • R&D is an investment without a guaranteed return as it is really an exploratory exercise into a new or unknown area.
  • R&D efforts are dependent on what type of company you have, what type of product/service you offer, and the size of your R&D budget.
  • First, you’ll want to identify the need you have for your R&D efforts.
  • During the concept generation and selection stage, you’ll want to establish some milestones. An effective strategy should be set against milestones which state the key stages of development for your product, service or process.
  • Define any technical, manufacturing or design challenges that may be present in order to complete each milestone.
  • Determine what risks are present, if any, and decide how your company will integrate the new product, service or process into current operations.

EXPERT TIP

It’s important to keep your R&D efforts strictly confidential, both within your organization and in your relations with your commercial partners—it would be a shame to invest money into something great only to have your competitor scoop it from you.

Sources of research

There are many sources of great research available to you as you move through the development process of turning a company need, into an integrated product, service or process.

  • Consider online journals for similar industry-related projects
  • Market research is key—you can do this internally through customer surveys or feedback channels but you can also hire a research company to do this for you.
  • Find out what your competitors are doing by surfing their websites or visiting their locations.

EXPERT TIP

Stay on top of industry trends, especially if you’re in a tech-related industry. Subscribe to online RSS feeds for industry related information or even keep yourself current by attending a night class.

Taxes

Learn all about the various types of federal and provincial taxes that apply to you and your business. If you're federally incorporated, you have to pay taxes in monthly installments. If you're the sole proprietor, you include the income (or losses) of your business in your personal income tax—even in this situation, you may be required to pay taxes in installments.

There are a lot of tax regulations to be aware of when operating a business. Revenue Canada provides all of the information you need to make sure that your business complies.

Outside support

There are dozens of organizations, both governmental and private, set up to assist the business community. Do some research to learn about the programs, counseling and assistance available to you. A good place to start is your local Resources Development Canada Human Resources centre.

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