Interdisciplinary communication is tricky business. Ecologists andmolecular types may use certain lingo, but PhDs and MBAs speak entirely different languages. That can mean trouble for a business plan.

Business and science make up one of the riskiest marriages around. Still, many MBAs and PhDs take this plunge because of the potential for blockbuster profits. However, even a solid scientific idea, one that fills a gap in the market, can sink for lack of business savvy, says Tom Fitzsimons, director of startup business development at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Technology Transfer. "Get advisors, consultants who understand the process of commercialization," he says.

When launching a new business or expanding an existing one, step one is raising money. To recruit investors, write a business plan that includes an overview of the science, an analysis of the market, and the set-up of the company. When building your business plan, answer the...

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