As every founder would know, starting a business is often fraught with contrasting emotions. On the one hand, there’s palpable excitement on the boundless possibilities if the business exceeds the growth envisaged in the business plan. On the other is dread over the likelihood the startup could go bust after a few months of operations.
There’s no question that starting any business is fraught with risk. Nevertheless, some of the fears around establishing a company are based on myths and half-truths. If you are considering starting a laser engraving business for steel, you are likely to run into plenty of these myths.
Of course, you should keep an open mind when listening to views from people who have knowledge of the laser engraving industry. However, make sure whatever you are hearing is founded on fact.
Here’s a look at some of the major laser engraving myths to look out for.
1. The Laser Engraving Market is Saturated
Laser engraving has been around for years now and naturally, numerous players have joined the fray. There are certainly laser engraving products and services in the market that cover a wide range of needs. Click here for examples of laser engraving machines for metal.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s no longer room for new products, though. Find your unique sales proposition. Don’t be afraid to be disruptive by doing something that could upend the market. Let customers realize you offer something they needed, though they might not even have realized it.
If you are doing this for your own products, create unique, personalized designs that will resonate with prospective buyers. Develop your own spin that ensures your product stands out and shines.
2. Laser Engraving Machines Are Hard to Use
As with any equipment you are using for the first time, there will be a learning curve when you acquire a laser engraving machine. Nevertheless, laser engraving follows a fairly repetitive routine. You’ll largely be changing the design you’re working with. In fact, it doesn’t differ much from simply sending a file to a conventional printer. Still, if you are having any difficulty running the machine, most manufacturers will be happy to offer support and training after the purchase.
You may even get a technician coming to your worksite to deliver a hands-on session if a remote, over-the-phone training doesn’t cut it. Many laser engraving equipment makers also have extensive knowledge bases on their websites, frequently answered questions (FAQs) and even a community forum where users can share their experiences.
You could also check out the equipment maker’s social media pages and ask your question there or read through responses to similar questions other customers have asked before.
3. You Won’t Get a Meaningful Return on Your Investment
There’s no guarantee that buying a laser engraving machine will deliver any returns. But which business provides an automatic return on investment? None. Ergo, acquiring an engraving machine should simply be one part of an overarching business strategy. The machine will only execute as well as your plans, creativity, and determination.
Before you buy the equipment, you must have determined how you’ll use the machine, the target market and what unique value it gives. For this to work, you must embark on rigorous market research to establish what it is that your prospective customer wants and what gaps in existing laser engraving niche you could close.
You need to have assembled all the key ingredients of business success before seamlessly executing them.
4. The Laser Engraving Software is Difficult to Learn
For you to create the designs that the laser engraving machine will carve on the target object, you need software for this. The program must have the ability to handle both vector and raster formats.
Raster file formats comprise tiny dots that total a complete image. They are mostly used when you are looking to engrave a photo or grayscale image onto steel or other metal. Vector file formats are made up of multiple nodes that ensure the image can be enlarged without a subsequent deterioration in image quality.
Laser engraving software may feel a little overwhelming the first time you use it, especially if you don’t have a background in tech or design. Over time, you will find that the software is actually not as complex as you imagined once you get the hang of it. There may also be online tutorials you could make use of. If you are still not making headway, get in touch with the engraving machine’s customer support.
5. You Don’t Have the Artistic Skills Required
While being artistic can help you create more personalized, unique designs, it’s not an essential skill for a laser engraving business. First, there are numerous predesigned templates available on the web that you could use as-is or slightly modify to fit your design needs. Many of these are free, but even the premium ones aren’t prohibitively expensive.
Second, just because you are acquiring a laser engraving machine doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the one operating it. If artistic skills are a prerequisite, you can always hire someone who has the competence you are looking for.
6. Marketing Laser Engraving is Arduous and Time-Consuming
No business can make any headway without extensive marketing. No one out there will ever know how good your product is if they are not even aware of its existence in the first place. Whether you are getting a laser engraving machine for marking your own products or are looking to provide an engraving service, you have to market your product.
One common myth is that marketing laser engraving is a herculean task. The assumption is that this is not something the average person can relate to. Therefore, they would have to be taken through an extensive process of familiarization. This, however, grossly underestimates the knowledge of today’s consumer and their ability to quickly find the information they need online.
Also, you don’t need to sink tons of cash for laser engraving marketing to have an impact. Create a Facebook page for your business, participate in local Facebook groups or give away samples featuring your laser engraving work.
Hopefully, this article has debunked these myths sufficiently to make you think about trying your hand at a laser engraving business for steel.