Analyzing Your Market
- What do you have to offer?
- Do you have the talent to make it better?
- Can You Create New and Useful Products?
- Should you create a niche business or have a general welding shop?
- Should you buy an established business?
- You must know; your market, your competition, and yourself to be successful.
Knowing your market, and everything about it, is the key to any business. You need to determine what you will be competing for and who your competitors are. Every business environment is different, thus there is no one size fits most welding business plan that works everywhere. Where do you start? Here is a suggestion or two:
Look up your state, county and city or towns websites.
Study your local economy and determine what is unique about your area. This is a thinking process that requires analytical skills and an open mind. Get to know your potential customers, the market you will be in, and your competitors. Let the market tell you what to do and do not force your opinion where the business is. Searching for water in the desert, is waste of time. Smart business owners listen to potential customers and study their market, or, the market will teach you a lesson. Listen and look for the signs as to where you can find work for your business. Sit down and determine your strengths, your weaknesses, business opportunities and what is out there to hurt you.
For example, I live in South Florida and the economy here is not good for welders because we have no real industry or manufacturing base. What we have is lots of rich people. Rich people have yachts, huge houses, and personal jets and like to spend money. There is no industry or welding jobs here except in the area of tourism. You can try to run a pipe line rig welding business or fabrication shop but you will fail. If you want to survive here then you need to think about a service industry that targets the wealthy customer. This is an example of knowing your geographic area and your market. These would be my choices:
- Mega Yacht Repair and Modification
- Fabricating Marine Equipment
- Architectural Iron and Art Metals
- Re-manufacturing and Repairing Aircraft Parts
- Cruise Ships Service and Repair
- Restaurant Equipment Repair and Fabrication
If you live in an area such as rural Wisconsin then you would want to service the farming industry, and food processing industry. Some examples of the types of businesses that would work are:
- Farm Equipment Repair
- General Weld Shop
- Stainless Steel Dairy Equipment Fabrications and Repair
- Silo Tank Fabrication, Modification and Repairs
These are an example of opportunities specific to your geographic area. Study your potential market by going online, driving around and learn the industries in your town, county or state. It takes time and effort to figure out what would work for you. Know your market, and know yourself and your skills.
Most welders believe that they know themselves and their talents, but in the business world it is not about welding skills or how well you fabricate. The question is asked, can you deliver the product or service on time and on budget? For example; a business owner states he needs to hire a welding contractor to erect a 10,000 square foot store. This store requires a steel structure completed in 2 weeks or less from today. If you say yes, I will sign the contract for that job, and make sure the steel for that store is erected in less than 2 weeks from today. That would be an example of self knowledge, knowing what you can deliver. But, don't promise, unless you can deliver. Should you fail, you will burn your future contacts. Business communities are very small, more than likely they know each other, so you need to know yourself and what you can deliver.
Finally it all comes down to location, what is available and what you can provide. You need to find an area and a local economy that works for you. It is a long term process that takes lots of trial and error, all while listening to and understanding your potential customers needs. Take your time and carefully analyze the local market. We are all different so there is not a single solution that will work for all of us. For example, some people just do restaurant equipment repairs and fabrication. For some reason restaurant owners just seem to like a welder doing the work. These welding shop owners just fell into their industry, not expecting that to be their business focus. It is a combination of the services you provide, your marketing and networking, that make business owners feel comfortable hiring you. It's not an exact science, but a trial and error process that is different for every business owner. Something as odd as a type of hat you wear, can appeal to a certain crowd. You just never know what is going to work for you. It is the equivalent of growing up and figuring out who you are in the business world.