Business Research in Canada

I was reading an article today in the Metro (a free daily in Toronto) that made the following statement:

Canadian businesses aren’t doing enough research and development, and that’s putting the country at a distinct global disadvantage…. despite substantial federal tax breaks and funding.

This article, while fairly short, was of particular interest to me, as this is what my business does. Optimal Upgrade Consulting is all about R&D for small and medium-sized businesses with a focus on technology. Other businesses exist with a focus on other issues.

My belief is that the problem with the lack of Research and Development in Canada is not the lack of companies doing R&D. While the industry itself is not large, it does exist. The problem is that clients are not abundant. While every small business looking to grow will eventually require the use of technology, that does not mean that every business will perform the research into that technology. Nor will they pay for professional advising, but will use their own understanding of the technology (or lack thereof) to make a decision.

Businesses which specialize in doing research, whether into technology, printing, advertising, or any customizable work, can contribute to the solution. Their marketing needs to target the small and medium-sized businesses, explaining why their expertise is needed. They need to educate their potential clients on the benefits of getting custom advise. Rather than focus on landing the few big contracts that are available, they should devote a significant percentage of their efforts to teaching small business owners about the benefits of professional advise.

Landing a small contract today to advise a small business on a common problem may not pay the bills. But if that client sees the benefit of your advise, they will return with a larger contract once the business has grown, and that is what will increase the volume of R&D business in Canada.