Whether you are just getting started or have been running your shop for decades, there are gems in this quick read for everyone.
Working with entrepreneurs is one of the awesome parts of this business. I love seeing people who have a passion for what they do and are willing to take big risks to make dreams come true. During my daily calls, I often connect with young machinists who are looking to set up their own shop. The plan usually consists of buying a machine, putting it in their garage, and running hard on the nights and weekends to get the ball rolling. Their next question is, “How do I get work to fill that time and can you help me?“
Before I dive in, keep in mind that you can make all of this happen in under 48 hours for less than $500.
Here is my response:
- Protect yourself and set up an LLC. I recommend LegalZoom.
- Buy your domain name. This should match your company name. Get a real url like ‘www.yourcompanyname.com’ with no dashes or periods. If they don’t have your company name available consider picking a different company name. You can buy domain names on Google or another website hosting platform like Squarespace.
- Start using GSuite for Business. This will give you a professional email and the ability to have an email account at your domain name. It looks unprofessional to have a personal looking email address like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ so make sure you get email@example.com. Then setup aliases for info@ and quotes@ for other business inquiries.
- Get a logo made. With $10, you can get a professional logo made on Upwork or Fiverr. Stay simple and include your company name to start.
- Set up a website! Check out this article on Building a Marketing Presence. Some things to keep in mind:
- Keep it simple and professional
- Do NOT list your one machine on here – people view you having only one machine as a risk to on-time delivery. Customers do not need to know what machines you have, only your capabilities – i.e. 3-axis vertical machining, supporting parts of xyz sizes in xyz materials.
- Make sure your contact information is clearly called out and let people know that you will respond to requests for quotes in 24 hours. When you start getting traffic – we can plug in the Paperless Parts Automated RFQ form.
- Set up a Linkedin Company Page. These days, Linkedin is where business happens. To setup your Company Page, mirror the information you have on your website’s “About” section. Make sure you also have a personal Linkedin page set up for yourself with a picture.
One of the hardest things about setting up a new business is establishing credibility. In the early days, it is in your best interest to take as many steps as possible to build legitimacy. Help customers feel confident that you are a real business. Show them that you can be trusted with their intellectual property. Leave them with the understanding that you deliver high-quality parts on-time.
Jason Ray is the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Paperless Parts. Jason drives the company’s product vision, while building relationships with manufactures and partners. Before Paperless, he served as an officer in the US Navy and led the implementation of additive manufacturing technology. Jason holds a BA (Trinity) and MBA (Babson).