Business Founding Case. Part I: Early Market Research
Scientist Name: Leslie Bowen, PhD
Progress to Date: Leslie has discussed her idea to start a business using her novel approach to growing neurons with her university Technology Transfer Office representative, Laila Robinson. Laila helped Leslie realize that entrepreneurship is a path she is interested in pursuing in order to apply her research and perhaps contribute to a clinical advance by researchers who use her lab-grown neurons. Laila helped Leslie understand that she can mitigate the personal financial risk of starting a business and that entrepreneurship has advantages for women with children. These factors helped solidify Leslie’s commitment to forming a business startup.
Scenario, Part 1: After Leslie presents her idea to Laila Robinson in the Technology Transfer Office, Laila describes several areas of early market research for Leslie to pursue to assess the business potential of Leslie’s idea.
It may seem early, but doing some research to make sure there is a need and a market for your idea is important. So, how large is the market for these neurons are you sure it is a unique idea? You have already described that the product, the lab-grown neurons, is something that people in your field would want. What about other fields? And how sure are you that your approach is unique?
I think the market will be sizable, given the neurons’ potential for use in many different areas of clinical research. And I know it is a unique idea. It is based on a process that I invented, and I’ve done a lot of investigation to make sure no one else has thought of doing it this way.
Good. You have to investigate whether researchers would be able to afford them too. Can they be mass-produced? How much of a supply would a typical researcher need?
I don’t know that yet. I’d need to work with an engineer to design an easily scalable manufacturing process. I keep improving it every time I run into problems. I’d have to talk to my potential customers to better understand their needs.
These are the type of questions it is good to try to answer before starting a business. I’ll give you a list to consider. The answers will give you some idea of whether starting a business is worth the effort. Let’s meet again, soon and talk about what you learn.
View Case Part 2