Starting a 3D printing business is a lucrative and profitable venture. The use of 3D imaging has experienced an upsurge in popularity which would have seemed inconceivable a few years back. At the same time, it is the perfect business for contemporary times because it directly feeds into the notion of a sleek idea that is perfectly executed. With little more than a 3D printer, you can really make your ideas pop. It is estimated that by 2019, the 3D printing industry will be worth $20 billion. Not only will this impact on how we do business but it will also revolutionize an already fast-moving technological landscape.
The one thing that is critical to success in this area is the ability to bring convenient customization to the table at all times. People are looking for individualized high quality delivery over mass production. It is exactly this type of specialization that has marked the progress of the SME (Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises) sector. The article introduces you to the ideas and concepts that will help you start off your 3D printing business.
Developing a service provision framework
There is much that can be done with 3D. The crux of the matter is that you need to be selective in order to be effective. For example, you can focus on either the design or output aspects of the business. The 3D printer will be your primary tool. In this case the business model is configured in such a way as to allow you to deliver a specialized service to an owner of a piece of work that needs to be converted into another form.
The challenge for those that are first entering the 3D printing business sector is the fact that competition is incredibly high. You cannot afford to slack on quality. The other challenge is that many people who provide secretarial or administrative services have incorporated 3D printing into their work as a peripheral. That means that although they are unable to offer specialized services; they will still take up the bulk of the clientele. Thus they will leave very little for the other smaller players.
One of the solutions to this intense competition is to make use of online communication. There are plenty of hubs for people who specialize in 3D printing. This is a unique service that brings together people who really understand its value. Therefore, you should sign up to these forums so that you are at the very least in circulation. If and when an opportunity arises, you will be one of the first people to take advantage of it.
Establish a niche at the earliest opportunity. That means that you focus on a small group of clients but ensure that you meet their needs in a very unique and satisfying way. Market research is of the essence and the internet might end up being your primary source. Typically, the kind of clients who are going to use 3D printing will also have a profile on Reddit and Quora. Set yourself up as an expert by reading extensively about the various products on demand.
Getting to know your customers
The base product or service is 3D printing but there is much more to it. Each client will specify what they want and the pathway that they prefer. The trick is to study what is being currently offered to clients. You then come up with an alternative that is a substantial improvement on the existing service profiles. One of the most lucrative marketing strands is that of direct contact with B2B(business-to-business) customers. These clients typically call for a much more specialized and technical provision. This means that your equipment must be good. At the same time, you benefit from the fact that such clients will on average have more money to spend on 3D printing than the individual buyer. In return you will be expected to deliver support of the highest quality standards and with great consistency.
There is a temptation to rush into accepting large orders when you are not ready to satisfy them equally well. That is why the niche has been mentioned as a critical business decision at the outset. For the initial phase of developing the 3D printing business model, the go-to websites include Shapeways and 3D Hubs. Here you can delve into the technical details of 3D printing without the added pressure of having to meet scale requirements so quickly. Stratasys used this pathway to great effect when setting out its stall in prototyping and production.
Make sure you have a comprehensive 3D Printing business plan
The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The 3D printing business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the nuances of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included:
- The mission, vision and operational strategy
- Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
- A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
- A marketing and customer care plan
- An organizational chart and human resource policy
- A three-year expansion outlook
- A risk and rewards Analysis
You will need to make an informed decision about the business type that you will adopt for your 3D printing business. Each of the different business entities requires very specific application processes for permits and registrations. The business type you select will determine who owns, runs and supervises the operations of the company. It’s also better to have a fully functional website for your 3D printing business.
Opportunities in the e-Commerce store sector
There are certain opportunities that arise in the 3D printing industry depending on the trends. A case in point is the design and print service provision gap for e-commerce stores. In previous times, the preference was for overseas factories. However, transportation costs and logistical challenges meant that some of these companies started looking closer to home. Your ideal business pitch would be that you are able to produce 3D printing on time with great options for the client. There is also the opportunity to communicate mid-project. These are things which foreign companies invariably fail to do in full.
If you are really good at your business you may be able to reduce the need for these large companies to stock up on 3D images in anticipation of a lull because you are able to deliver upon demand. For as little as $20,000; you can begin the process of 3D printing. The potential rewards are numerous for this small business. At the same time, you will be developing skills that will be in constant need throughout this century.