Surviving in the manufacturing industry: go niche or go home

The world of business has always been something of a dog-eat-dog place, where entrepreneurs develop ideas only to find that someone else has got ahead of them. It doesn’t matter what industry sector a business is in, it needs to have something that will set it apart from its competitors.

There’s little point in going into manufacturing something that is going into a marketplace saturated with the same or similar offerings. A new business needs to develop a specific niche market, putting forward products that no one else makes or are of far superior quality to cheap imported ones.

There will always be businesses and people who want to buy into quality and who will be prepared to pay for it as well as those who are looking for something new to assist their business or personal lives. It can often be cheaper in the long term to buy into a high quality product because it won’t need replacing as often.

What should a start-up entrepreneur be looking to do in order to be successful?

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Innovate

Sometimes the best ideas come from something that already exists but doesn’t do a particular thing. Take the Lytro, a light field camera that lets users take a picture and get it into focus later on. It’s a simple but effective concept that means a blurred part of the image can be clicked on and brought into focus. The company raised many millions of dollars before its launch.

Another fascinating startup is Sphero, which allows a robotic ball to be controlled by a phone. One use is as a play item for cats and dogs – it’s tennis ball size – but children can also have fun with it.

In the late 1970s, Transducer Techniques was established to design and manufacture torque transducers, a whole range of load cells and related instrumentation. These are used over many industry sectors where weighing is a crucial part of a business operation.

How to succeed

It’s an unfortunate truism that many new businesses don’t survive for very long. There are a number of reasons for this, and just because an entrepreneur does have a really good manufacturing  idea, success is unlikely to happen without a lot of hard work.

The planning stage is crucial. A good business plan will crunch the numbers to help finance to be raised; there will be a clear vision and a setting out of the requirements for manufacturing; and a sound marketing plan will be organized to get the message out to the target markets.

Even if this is all in place, probably the most important aspect of making the business a success is to have the right people on board. A good team is worth its weight in gold as a new business can be something of a helter skelter ride, with highs and lows often at unexpected times.

By identifying that niche market and getting the right administration in place at the start, the thrusting entrepreneur has a better than even chance of not going home.

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