Here’s the reality, I’ve said for a long time that Phase I money is the “don’t be stupid money”. Phase I is the test to see if you 1) know how to run a real research program; 2) that you’re willing to obey the government rules and regulations and; 3) your approach is FEASIBLE, that is, it works!
How do you show you are good to work with? Some tips
- Update PD on your progress
- Ask for Advice
- Don’t ignore your PD during Phase I
- Follow the rules
- If there’s a conference – attend with enthusiasm!
Don’t just be the “take the Phase I money”
Make sure you know the lingo. SBIR is pronounced S B I R or S T T R at many agencies (ex. NSF, NIH etc) but in the military its pronounced “sibber” or “sitter”.
Even agencies like NSF and NIH wants some contact – example, every few weeks send an email with an update – what have you finished, how did research go, looks promising (or not), and then invite them to call or email with any questions. Ask questions if you’re stuck – don’t wait for them to contact you.
Quality of the performance of the company with the Phase I is a crucial element in Phase II award!
(Don’t be a pain or, as I heard it described, don’t be a black hole of need). Examples: Having daily contact with your PD or never figuring things out yourself! That’s just annoying!
If it’s the military – essential you talk to the TPOC (sometimes they come and go) – find out who is really interested in your project. Meet with them. Kickoff meeting is common and HIGHLY recommended at the start of Phase I. Ask TPOC – can you introduce us to prime contractors, acquisition officers or whoever could get a Phase III (post Phase II) award. Get to know each other and also the other advocates within the group or agency.
Wherever possible, meet TPOC in person… “Initiate and maintain communication” especially with DoD – reach out and keep them updated. See previous post about Phase II’s that are dropped by the agency, even with successful Phase I awards!
If you haven’t gone through our SBIR course, Develop a Winning SBIR Strategy – Insights From The Review Process, I invite you to do so. Remember that my perspective as a reviewer of many, many proposals gives you an advantage as you prepare your Phase I and/or your Phase II proposal.
If you want more in depth help, either a proposal review or help developing your proposal, you can apply for a spot in our one-on-one VentureWrench SBIR Coaching after you’ve gone through the course. Email us at venturewrenchcommunity [at] gmail.com with questions.
And if you need help with any part of your SBIR process – proposal (Phase I or II), TABA, proposal management, or contract finalization, just email us at venturewrenchcommunity [at] gmail.com!
Don’t forget, if you need more help, check out our online course, Develop a Winning SBIR Strategy, and don’t forget your free guide below!