Starting an engineering business will be exciting, frustrating, frightening, wonderful, as well as many other feelings and emotions all added together. There is a certain thrill associated with being your own boss and enjoying that added level of freedom that comes with it, but it can be a scary time too, especially if you’ve never done it before, or you’re just not sure what steps to take next.
However, you should always remain positive.
Although some startups will fail, others will succeed and go on to become big household names. With the right level of work and planning, there is no reason why yours shouldn’t be one of them.
Here are some of the most important signs to look out for to show that your engineering startup is already on the right track.
1.You Have The Knowledge
It might be surprising to learn how many people start a business because they think it looks fun or they like the idea of the subject they will be working in, but who don’t actually have any knowledge or relevant qualifications in that area. It’s true that you should enjoy what you are doing when you run your own business, but you also need to understand it.
It is also a good idea to supplement the knowledge you already have, especially if you want to specialize rather than run a general engineering business. Check out Michigan Tech’s online electrical engineering program and you will see just what courses and degrees you can take that will enhance your knowledge and your ability to do your job – and run your business – well.
2.You Have A Clear Strategy
One of the most important things you can do when you start a business (or, preferably, before you start it), is to have a clear strategy in place to determine where you are heading and how you intend to get there.
This strategy can come in different forms.
A business plan is an excellent way to ensure that you write everything down and can account for what you are doing. The business plan will incorporate a budget and include projections for the next five years or so in terms of income and expenditure. It will also determine what your marketing strategy and budget will be. This is the document that will be required if you need to obtain additional funding from an investor or bank; it is clearly extremely important.
Take your time writing your business plan and it will serve you well.
It is crucial that you are honest when writing this plan. Writing down what you want to see rather than the truth may be hard – especially if the figures are telling you to wait, or that you can’t begin in the way that you had intended – but it also means that you are less likely to fail.
3.Customers Are Coming To You
Word of mouth is a hugely important part of any advertising campaign. Working hard, doing a good job, being polite and courteous, and knowing everything about your product or service will enable you to ensure that this happens. It costs nothing, but is perhaps the best way to bring people to your door rather than you going out to search for them.
Marketing is a difficult aspect of your business to get just right, which is why it can often be a good idea to outsource this element of your business to an expert. The right kind of marketing will mean that, over time, people will automatically think of you when they want the product or service you are selling. When this happens, and you have recommendations and positive reviews as well as the aforementioned word of mouth advertising work for you, you will have customers coming to you, and you won’t be chasing them anymore.
Of course, this does not mean that you can simply stop advertising your engineering company; if you do this you can be forgotten, and there will always be new people to attract. However, it does mean that you will have a steady income stream from the people who are already coming to you.
4.Good Cash Flow
For a business to be truly successful, and for your engineering startup to truly succeed, you need to spend less money than you bring in. It’s a simple formula and the only one that works when it comes to making a profit, but it’s one that startup owners can very easily forget when they become excited about what they are doing.
When money starts to come into a business, it can be tempting for the owner to start spending it on all the things they have wanted to buy up until now but didn’t have the funds to do so. While this is something that certainly can be done, it should be done carefully.
A budget needs to be in place, for example. If every penny that comes is in spent immediately, making a profit will be impossible. Only buy what you need to buy, and plan accordingly.
You will also need to separate company money and your paycheck. You need a salary like a normal employee, otherwise the temptation to dip into the company profits can spell trouble.
5.You Have A Great Team
Not all engineering startups are going to need employees; you might choose to work solely for yourself and be completely happy with that and the potential limitations it can bring. However, if you want to grow, be noticed, and ultimately be hugely successful, you will need a great team in place.
Once you do have a team, you will be able to take a step back and let others take on some of the burdens you have been working under. Not only will this make the company more efficient (and therefore more successful), but it will also give you what you have been looking for, and the reason you started the business in the first place – freedom and time.
A great team needs a great boss, and this is something you will need to learn how to deal with. Ensure you always keep everyone up to date with changes, victories, and failures within the business, for example, and that you listen to (and act upon where necessary) any feedback given. Your team will be happier and will work harder, and your engineering startup will grow into a successful business.