From Blueprint to Launch: How to Build a Successful Engineering Firm

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

The American engineering services sector had a colossal revenue of $267 billion in 2019. Engineers form the bedrock of industry and are an essential part of every industry you could care to name. This makes it an attractive market if you are a trained engineer or a businessman or businesswoman hoping to start a new company.

What are the secrets to starting an engineering firm? How can you best ensure that it thrives in the worldwide marketplace? What is an engineering startup to do if it wants to succeed?

It can be a difficult field to break into which is why we're here today. We're going to take a look at the best strategies that an engineering firm can employ in 2020 to survive and thrive. 

Ready to find out more and start a breakout business? Then keep reading!

1. Discover Your Niche

This first step is as crucial for an engineering firm as it is for any other business. You need to know what your niche is. What's your USP? 

Think about your skill set as an engineer or a businessman/businesswoman. Do you have experience in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electronic engineering, or something else? Within these overarching umbrella terms, what is your specialty? 

When you know your specialty, think about why it would attract customers. For instance, if you're going to offer civil engineering services to the construction industry, what will make you stand out from any other engineering firm they could hire?

You should also do some cursory market research at this point to discern whether there is any other company out there that's already offering these services. If there are, do you feel confident in your ability to compete with them?

2. Create a Business Plan For Your Engineering Firm

Writing your engineering firm's business plan is the next step in this process.  The key components of any business plan are:

  1. Company summary and description
  2. Financial plans
  3. Market research
  4. Determining product pricing
  5. Sales and promotion plans

While more should go into it, these are your critical areas. Let's take a closer look at each one.

Company Summary and Description

In this section, you need to explain what your business does and how it does it. You should cover your concept and USP, finances, business position in the market, and your achievements. This is where you demonstrate why a company that's interested in hiring an engineer should hire you.

Financial Plans

Where will you be getting income from? One of the most important parts of an engineering startup is securing capital. Until you can be self-sufficient on income, how will the company be paid for?

How are you going to profit?

Market Research

You already did some research on the engineering market in your area. Here, you need to take a closer look at your competitors. What is your market and how saturated is it?

How will your engineering business secure a portion of the market and how much will it be able to secure?

Pricing

How will your engineering firm price its services? Determining price shows that you're serious and have done your research. Price your products to sell.

Sales and Promotion Plans

Once your engineering business launches, what will your approach to marketing be? How will you generate leads and customers?

3. Get the Tools

How will you get the tools you need for your business? If you're going to use CAD systems, how will you access these? 

Every type of engineer needs different tools and it's up to you to make sure that you can get your hands on them. When you can source them or find a place that gives you access to them, you can proceed to launch. 

4. Launching Your Company: Networking

One of the most crucial things you need to do to help your business grow is network, network, network. Get your company's name known. There are quite a few ways that you can do this when you're new.

Going to tradeshows as a new business can be a great start. Bring literature about your company and its services; show prospective clients what you can offer them.

Social media is a powerful tool in the right hands too and should not be ignored. Advertising to fellow professionals on LinkedIn and Facebook can do wonders for your profile. Building a strong social media following in your industry can also land you more jobs.

You should also talk to people outside the engineering services industry. These are the people you'll be getting most of your jobs from and when you're new, you can't rely on word of mouth. Spread the word and show them what you can do!

5. Advertising Your Engineering Firm

You probably won't have a huge marketing budget for your engineering firm's early days. This doesn't mean that you can afford to skip marketing altogether. You may not be able to take out TV ads but there are other avenues open to you.

For instance, as well as networking through social media, social media marketing should be an important part of your business. Other low-budget marketing ideas include content marketing, instructive videos, and targeted Google ads.

6. Determine and Codify Hiring and Quotation Practices

One thing that your company needs in its nascent stages is consistency. You should codify your hiring process so that you only bring in people with the appropriate speed. Having a revolving door approach to hiring and firing can be damaging to morale as well as costly.

With quotations, you need to determine how much your quotes will be for different kinds of jobs. You need to make sure that you're turning a profit while also being affordable enough that you can attract customers.

Final Thoughts

Starting an engineering firm can seem difficult but it's not too dissimilar to starting any other business. If you follow these steps, you have a solid chance of success. 

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