The continuous development of laser-engraving machines has inspired many people to turn their hobby into a profitable business. But just like any other business, there are a lot of factors you have to consider before shelling out an investment, including the mistakes that you must avoid before starting such an enterprise:
1. Failure to make a business plan
A business plan is essential to any business, which means that you cannot start a laser engraving business without making a business plan first. Failure to do so can lead your business to decline before it even gains traction, which is, of course, a significant waste of time and money.
If you don’t know much about making a business plan or running a business at all, get help from someone who does. This ‘someone’ can be a family member, a friend, a business partner, or a consultant that can help you put your vision on paper.
2. Not getting the right equipment
In a laser engraving business, your equipment is your bread and butter. Your machines dictate the quality of your products and services, which means they directly affect your business success. What can you expect with defective equipment? Not-so-great performance, as you can expect.
If you want to make an excellent first impression from the get-go, investing in the right equipment is necessary. This includes the laser engraving machine itself (the most important one), the cleaning tools, the vise, and other things you need for operations. Choose pieces of equipment that are high-quality, durable, and apt for the type of work you want to do and the materials you want to work on. In doing so, you can expect your equipment to remain serviceable for many years to come.
3. Offering every type of product
Offering every product available might increase revenue, but there is no guarantee that you will get the maximum profit. If you provide a wide variety of products but only have limited machines and human resources, the workflow of your business can be impeded by the number of different orders that you have, thus decreasing efficiency.
Hence, if you start a business with limited resources, it’s best to focus on several products that you can realistically produce with the number of machines, people, and space you have. When your business grows and you have the money for additional resources, that’s the time when you can offer more products to your clients.
4. Not knowing your target audience
You can’t sell something if you don’t know who to sell it to, so knowing your target audiences is a crucial step in business planning. Who are your target audiences? What are your customer demographics? Come up with the answers to these questions before starting your business. Otherwise, you might have trouble marketing your products to the right people and end up wasting resources on misplaced marketing strategies.
5. Not surveying the competition
As mentioned before, the continuous improvement of laser engraving technology has made it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to start laser engraving businesses of their own. And of course, you are likely not the only one in your area with this business idea. Hence, surveying the competition is essential before and after you start your business. If there are other laser engraving businesses in the area, here are the things you need to find out:
- Where are they located?
- What products and services are they offering?
- Do they have unique offerings? If so, what are they?
- What can you do to set your business apart from the others?
- Can your competition be potential business partners?
6. Choosing the wrong location
Choosing the right location is another essential step when starting a business. For a laser engraving business, having a brick-and-mortar location in a populated area is ideal. The more people there are passing by your store, the more potential clients can see samples of your work.
Apart from the foot traffic of the area, consider the surrounding establishments as well. Choose a location with other similar (but not the same) stores, such as craft stores, hobby stores, and printing services, to name a few.
A laser engraving business, much like any other business, requires preparation, dedication, and capital to start. Aside from these crucial factors, you also have to know what mistakes to avoid so that your business can gain traction without much hassle, starting with the ones highlighted above.
Do you have more tips to share for aspiring entrepreneurs that want to start a laser engraving business? Please share them with us in the comments below.