In these economically challenging and uncertain times, it is all too easy to succumb to the messaging which surrounds our daily lives. UK politics, global politics, crises of all different types and sizes – all ‘twangling instruments humming about our ears’, to clumsily paraphrase Shakespeare.
However, from a business perspective, this is a good time to filter out some of the twangling for the time being and have something with which to focus on, for the positive. It’s comforting to stick to the norm, and of course it keeps any additional risk at arm’s length. This is okay for the short term, but what about in the near future? The problem with having a future, is that it soon becomes a present – and not preparing for, or accommodating that future is sometimes a dangerous thing when it arrives and stares you straight in the face!
At ATI2 we often see that a client has been sitting on a fantastic idea, or an innovative solution to a challenge they face, but hasn’t had the time, expertise or indeed finances to bring this to market. This frustrates the team here, as we know that there are so many ways in which we can help. But, today the purpose of this blog is to talk about that most uncomfortable of subjects – money.
Right at the start of this blog, we alluded to the economically challenging times we currently all face, both in a private, domestic capacity, but also from a business perspective. Rising costs due to reasons beyond our immediate control either make products more expensive to the consumer, or dent, and in some cases remove any profit margins from a business model entirely. Making it even more difficult to both warrant the investment, but also use any monies available for the purpose of innovating. It’s a vicious circle, and again so very easy to fall into. However, there is no time like the present to innovate – and as the proverb says: ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.
Financing innovation doesn’t have to be a threat to the day-to-day running of your business. Here at ATI2 we have a grant fund that can assist, but additionally we support the nationwide programmes, such as UKRI and Innovate UK who offer funding for innovative solutions in many different sectors.
Let’s just quickly skim the process of innovation, which as readers of previous blogs and our website know, is iterative and not linear. The first cost stage is the time you’ve dedicated to your innovation – and as Benjamin Frankin said: ‘remember that time is money’ and of course this as true today as it was in 1748. Here again ATI2 can assist. We realise that businesses are often time poor, and our fleet of Business Innovation Advisors can assist with scoping work, product development and research into the avenues of enquiry, acting as sense, fact and reality checkers for innovation along the way. We often ask for academic input when required, and there are a many facilities and researchers who can be deployed to test or assist in a product or service development, as well as pre and post graduate student placement opportunities.
The next stage may well now involve some physical investment – and with any investment there are associated risks, but again ATI2 can assist in mitigating these risks. As above, the due diligence of a market can be carried out before putting monies at risk, but an investment should only be attributed when there is sure confidence of market traction. Here of course grants can be such a useful boost, accelerating a route to market for a product or service. But the support again available from the team, not just with a grant but in ascertaining a price point, the market competitor analysis (if any!) or the best point to access a market are all part of the work we do with our clients.
After the development, the final stage carries the most excitement and financial benefit of launching an innovation onto the market, or even a new one and enables a carving out of renewed or enhanced market share. The sharpening a competitive edge facilitates leadership of the sector, all of which give confidence, focus and potency to a product and a business attracting new customers from new markets. This is ultimately the scenario at ATI2 we strive to achieve with our clients, because it is this journey that empowers a business to traverse these challenging times, with measured risk, minimised costs and confidence.
So, don’t let your investment compete against your innovation. Let ATI2 help.