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Policies & Procedures are a Must, So Buckle Down and Get it Done

October 24th, 2014 | by Kris Bergman

policies_and_proceduresMost Policies & Procedures (P&P) manuals sit in a corner collecting dust and are pulled out only as a reference of last resort. But take note, SBIR/STTR applicants and awardees, agencies expect you to have P&Ps in place to serve as your bible for managing your funds and activities. And practically speaking, if you ever need to defend an action, behavior or practice, “If it isn’t written, it didn’t happen!”

So how do you get started drafting your P&P? Like most things, it’s best to start with the basics. Get your goal/mission down in writing and list the roles and responsibilities of each employee of your company. Then outline the possible sections of your P&P manual; things like:

  • Accounting – Describe the various aspects of your accounting system and how each will be handled. This includes things like cost types and monitoring, financial capabilities and reporting, procurement, payroll, accounts receivable and payable, etc.
  • Labor – How are timesheets prepared and reviewed? Who explains time keeping to new employees? Who prepares payroll?
  • Employee Leave – What is your policy on paid time off, holidays, vacation and sick leave? Is vacation accrued, use it or lose it, paid upon termination?
  • Travel – How is company travel managed? What is the mileage rate for use of personal vehicles? Do you have company credit cards? What is your policy on flight allowances and rental car use?
  • Misconduct – Describe your company’s policy on confidentiality and how to go about reporting breaches, steps for handling and resolving allegations, as well as reporting to the Office of Research Integrity

You will also need policies on contract management, emergencies, security, research protection (use of animals and humans), etc.

Clearly written and reasonable policies and procedures help management:

  • Define required steps to achieve a goal
  • Measure employee/company performance
  • Train new employees
  • Avoid misunderstandings and confrontation
  • Provide confidence to staff and agencies that you know what you are doing
  • Provide consistency and accountability
  • Lay a foundation for improvement

Just going through the process of thinking through the issues involved in each section of your P&P is immensely informative, so write, edit, and re-write until you have a comprehensive document with the flexibility to change based on lessons learned. Then distribute it to your employees, implement and practice it!

Contact Kris Bergman, BBCetc’s Grants & Contracts Management Guru for information about our Grants and Contracts Management Toolkit and other consulting services.

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Market Research is Key to Commercialization Success

September 26th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

Articulating a compelling commercialization strategy in your SBIR/STTR proposal is more important than ever for funding success. A credible commercialization plan must be built on a foundation of current and relevant information about the commercial opportunity you’re pursuing. The process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting that information is called Market Research. Market research is used

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Check Out New Subtopics for Latest NSF SBIR/STTR Cycle

September 3rd, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released its latest SBIR solicitation with a submission deadline of December 2, 2014. We can expect the STTR solicitation to be coming shortly. In the meantime there are some new technology subtopics that you should check out: Biomedical Technologies (BM) BM5. Noninvasive Imaging of Brain Function Educational Technologies and

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Broad Area Announcements Offer an Additional Funding Source

August 18th, 2014 | by Becky Aistrup

Although they are not generally small business set-asides, Broad Area Announcements (BAAs) can be an R&D funding source for small companies to consider in addition to the various agency SBIR/STTR programs. The BAA is a competitive solicitation process used to obtain proposals for basic and applied research, as well as for that part of development

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Budget Justification an Important, yet Underutilized Part of Proposals

July 16th, 2014 | by Kris Bergman

If you’re preparing an SBIR/STTR proposal for the upcoming Aug. 5 NIH or other agency deadline don’t underestimate the power of your budget justification. Numbers on a spreadsheet are only half of the story. Reviewers need to see WHY you are spending money on the things in your budget. Here are some important things to remember:

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What to Do — and Not Do — to Get Your Technology in Front of DOD

June 30th, 2014 | by Jayne Berkaw

Chad Darr, Director of Product Development for Loc Performance Products, Inc. knows a thing or two about getting products in front of the Dept. of Defense. Located in Plymouth, MI, Loc is an SBIR awardee and a full-service manufacturer of large CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machined components and mechanical assemblies for military and commercial applications.

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Strategic Partnering for SBIR-Stage Companies: Finding Your Strategic Partner

June 11th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

This is the third in a BBCetc series on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. Part one / Part two In many ways, the process of finding the right strategic partner is not much different than finding the right customer for your product. Both involve identifying and understanding a problem.

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Telling Your Story: Formatting and Readability Tips for SBIR/STTR Proposals

May 30th, 2014 | by Andrea Johanson

A good SBIR/STTR proposal is made infinitely better by writing and formatting that enhances readability and showcases your technology to its best advantage. So, before you dig in, start by knowing who it is that you are writing for. Depending on the agency, SBIR/STTR proposals may undergo an internal review, an external review, or a

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Strategic Partnering for SBIR-Stage Companies: Types of Strategic Alliances

May 6th, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

This is the second in a BBCetc series on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. Read part one. Strategic alliances come in all shapes and sizes and adapt to a variety of purposes. The most common include: Pooled Purchasing Supplier Partnering Distribution Partnering Franchising and licensing agreements R&D Partnerships (sometimes

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Strategic Partnering For SBIR-Stage Companies: What Motivates Large Companies to Partner?

April 1st, 2014 | by Michael Kurek

Strategic partnering is an important component of the commercialization plans of many SBIR awardees. This is the first in a BBCetc series of blogs on various aspects of finding, consummating, and maintaining a productive inter-company partnership. From the perspective of the small company, the motivation seems both simple and obvious – the need for funding.

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