It’s been extensively taught as part of the engineering curriculums in many higher education learning institutions, that businesses, companies, start-ups and other ventures should have their progress documented with as much detail as possible. If you are indeed operating a start-up, keeping records of all your progress is just about as important as getting the core work done.

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Understandably so, it can be very difficult to regularly complete an extensive report about every single step you take towards launching your market-ready product, service, or solution because you’re very likely investing most of your time and effort into the meat of the mapped-out tasks. The importance of officially recording your progress remains however, but it doesn’t have to be such time-consuming exercise that it eats into the time which should be spent working on delivering the final product. A scribbled mind-map of your progress with the occasional set of longer notes and amendments detailed-in is just fine and is perhaps the best way to go about it. Keep a hard-cover college exercise book as your journal and jot down the progress you make, even if you do it at the end of each week, at the end of each day or after a pre-determined number of days. What’s important is to document major developments, noting down the time and date and all the contributing parties involved. If for example your start-up is working on a new technology set to change the tech world or revolutionise the way we’ve all been doing something for the past few years, that moment when you crack the main ingredient would be detailed-in as soon as the eureka moment plays out.

But why is it important to keep records of the whole development cycle?

Intellectual Property

It perhaps didn’t happen as often as it does now, but it’s quite possible for two or more people in completely different parts of the world to have the same idea form in their heads at the same time. This happens even more so today as a result of the prevalence of a new way of innovating and developing ideas and solutions. Most of this innovation happens on open development platforms like building applications for new technology or just using some technology which already exists to try and solve a common problem. Nano-technology is a good example; you have thousands of people around the world working on various implementations of nano-technology, such as manufacturing waterproof and dirt-proof clothing materials. If for instance you were also working on nano-tech applications such as these, simply keeping a journal of your progress-records will build a solid, timeline-specific collection of evidence you might find you’ll need to protect your intellectual property.

Funding and Tax Breaks

Research and development tax breaks can make a very big difference to the progress and ultimate direction of your start-up, particularly if you’re working on an innovative solution that has the potential to solve one or more problems the general public would benefit greatly from. To put it more directly, you can get tax relief from the government and associated organisations if you can effectively demonstrate the positive progress you’ve made in your chosen area of operation. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you if you’ve diligently kept a good set of progress-records) these tax breaks and any additional funding are facilitated on a case-by-case basis, so the more detailed the records you keep, the better-placed you’ll be to benefit in this way. It all comes back to documenting the pivotal and important points in your progress and development so that you can quite easily look back and accurately paint a picture of how you got to where you are and where exactly you’re going.

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