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If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own business, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately half of all Americans have at some point in their lives started their own business.
With 31 million entrepreneurs across the country, why shouldn’t you be one of them?
We’ve rounded up the answers to some of the biggest questions entrepreneurs face when starting their own business to help you get started as you embark on this exciting journey.
How can I create a product without reinventing the wheel?
Stand on the shoulders of industry giants instead of starting from scratch. In the age of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to access the tools and resources that will help you move from concept to finished product almost instantly.
During the pandemic, manufacturers have seen an urgent need to support mass production of personal protective equipment (PPE), and well-known brands such as Bauer and HP have released design files for others to use freely. . Meanwhile, 3D printing specialists around the world have created a huge crowdsourcing of 3D printer materials and their expertise.
On the Thomasnet platform, you can download more than 10 million 2D and 3D CAD models of major equipment manufacturers. Compatible with major CAD software systems, there are models for products such as amplifiers, electronic components and plumbing equipment.
Other information about creating a new product:
How can I find suppliers?
One of the main priorities of a new business is to find suppliers who can provide you with the raw materials or services you need for production and shipping. Suppliers can be individuals or larger companies.
Here are some common ways to find suppliers:
- Internet searches
- Commercial Publications
When Thomas was founded over 120 years ago, it was known for its big green books. Thomas American Manufacturers Registry was volume on volume from distributors, service companies and manufacturers. Today, you can find everything at the touch of your keyboard at Thomasnet.com/suppliers.
There are over 500,000 detailed supplier profiles on Thomas. You can narrow your options by adding search qualifications such as business type, location, diversity, and certifications. Perhaps best of all for a booming startup with limited cash flow, it’s free.
When we recently spoke with George Tsatsos, the vice president of sales for Filti LLC, a manufacturing company that was launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, he gave this perspective on finding suppliers: “A lot of these big players are struggling to keep up. their mad demands because they are the main source. As a “new player” in the industry, we were able to find vendors that don’t have huge accounts under them, so we get priority because we’re big on their books but not big in the grand scheme of the filter industry. »
Additional information on finding suppliers:
How can I get the most out of my suppliers?
Just as landing your dream job depends a lot on your knowledge, succeeding as an entrepreneur involves building successful relationships.
Here are some ways to maximize your relationship with suppliers:
- Communicate early and often and in the appropriate forms for each step – writing everything down gives you a paper trail, but sometimes a quick phone call can help clarify expectations
- Be transparent with your goals, timeline, budget and standards
- Foster a collaborative environment with your vendors, who can offer expertise and insider knowledge that you don’t yet have
- Provide educational materials related to your goals and standards
- Create incentives
Additional information on building supplier relationships:
How can 3D printing accelerate my business?
3D printing can increase your efficiency.
When we spoke with AJ Strandquist, Director of 3D Product Solutions at Würth Industry of North America, he said 3D printing serves as a critical production solution for companies when supply chains are volatile.
“This technology is a great answer to things falling through the cracks because unlike other forms of manufacturing, with 3D printing you don’t need tooling. You don’t need specific equipment to craft something,” he explained. “Your ability to fix those little pop-up issues becomes much more doable with this technology.”
While you can buy your own 3D printer, you can also outsource the job to a trusted professional. Asking for quotes will help you determine what works within your budget and if you need to reassess the feasibility of your current budget.
For a free instant quote, you can upload your 3D model file with your preferred material and production process at Xometry. Once you place an order, you will receive regular status updates, including delivery tracking of your parts. Xometry, which is ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certified, also provides quality assurance and quality reporting so you can rest easy knowing your 3D printed parts will meet your standards.
Other information about 3D printing:
Where can I find knowledgeable and passionate experts to help me on my journey?
Depending on your needs and your budget, there are several ways to find knowledgeable and passionate experts who can help you through the different stages of your business.
Joining a makerspace – a community workshop that encourages people with common interests to come together to share knowledge and resources while you work on projects independently or collaboratively – is a great way to find and grow your community. In this environment, you can test ideas and prototypes, exchange tips and leads, and access tools you might not yet be able to afford.
A one-on-one mentoring experience can also be a game-changer. You can turn to former colleagues, alumni groups, networking events, and professional associations.
If you don’t plan to remain a solo entrepreneur, hiring professionals with the skills you need is a next step in turning your idea into reality. Research indicates that one of the best ways to increase innovation is to hire a diverse and inclusive workforce. In fact, workers working in environments that support diversity and inclusion claim to be 83% more innovative. Surrounding yourself with people of different ages, races, genders, and backgrounds can provide you with new perspectives that can benefit your business.
You can share your job offer with Thomas for the opportunity to include it in our monthly newsletter.
Other information about finding help:
How can I find customers?
Whether you sell a raw material, a finished product or a service, you need customers. Common ways to find customers include:
- Advertise your new business to your personal network
- Pitch an article idea related to your business to your local newspaper
- Promote your business with professional advertising
- Launch a social media campaign
- Be a guest speaker at an event or podcast
- List your business on Google My Business
- Create an SEO-rich website
- Form strategic partnerships
- Make a direct mail campaign
- Telephone canvassing
Getting creative with your advertising could help put you on the map. You could hire someone to create an evergreen promotional video about your business. “Statistically, video is the best way to really engage a viewer,” Michael Ayjian, co-founder of 7 Wonders Cinema, told us.
Another option is to stay top of mind through promotional products. “We built our name and our first reputation on the sale of anti-stress. They were our only product line when we started nearly 30 years ago. Since then, we have significantly evolved our business, product selection and expertise on many other products,” explained Yuhling Lu, CEO of promotional products distributor Ariel Premium.
Other information on finding clients:
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