In today’s business world, individuals who possess technical skills and have a prowess for entrepreneurship are at a competitive advantage. Starting a business is easier than ever before, but the competition curve is much stronger. Within five years, at least half of new businesses will fail. Tech positions, however, are always in need. Printed circuit boards in particular will never go out of style. After all, printed circuit boards are in every tech device around you—including the device you’re reading this on.
Whether you’re a novice in the early stages of designing a circuit board (designer caution: avoid these PCB mistakes) or have been formally educated on PCB design, starting a business that revolves around printed circuit boards is a surefire way to ensure you can offer a service that will never be replaced by technology. In fact, printed circuit boards are the very foundation of modern tech. Here’s how you can get started with your PCB business:
Have a Niche
Working within a niche market makes it easier to capture your business and score much-needed leads. It also helps filter out the competitors in a tough industry. Consider the areas that you’re most passionate about. For example, do you want to work with innovative startup companies developing new technologies? Or would you rather target the low-cost “commodity” printed circuit boards used in mass market products?
You may not be sure which niche is right for you just yet. Perhaps you don’t have a clearly defined mission or aren’t passionate about any particular path. In this case, it’s important to take a step back and think evaluate the industry. Do some market research to determine which are underserved, and then move forward from there.
Develop a Business Plan
Competing in the tech industry is no easy feat. You’ll need a business plan to help steer you in the right direction and acquire necessary early-stage funding. Your business plan should detail how you intend to make a profit and cater to your target market. If this is your first time developing a business plan, consult an electronics consultant who ideally has PCB experience. If they don’t have PCB experience, you can always hire a freelancer to look over the business plan to determine inaccuracies. Take a look at sample business plans to help steer you in the right direction.
Focus on Sales and Marketing
Designing and printing circuit boards is just a piece of the business. Even if you’re a PCB expert, you’ll encounter trouble if you don’t also focus on building the business. The old adage, “if you build it, they will come,” rarely applies to business. You have to work hard to attract the right people.
Once you’ve got a handle on your PCB expertise and know where you want to focus your efforts, it’s time to put your attention on marketing your business and acquiring sales. Ideally, you can hire a salesperson who understands your industry and niche. It’s important that you don’t cut costs when it comes to hiring decisions. To attract the best talent, you must be willing to put dollars behind it. Investing in people and not just things will go a long way towards opening up doors and exploring growth opportunities.
How you develop your marketing plan depends on your niche. For example, if you have decided to work with entrepreneurs and their innovative technologies, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and social media networks are great starting points. If major manufacturers are your target area, professional platforms like LinkedIn are better off as your core focuses.
Invest in PCB Design Software
The PCB design software you use can make or break your business. PCB design software can be costly, but it’s a necessary expense. Different software providers offer various capabilities, depending on the scope of what you need and the complexity of your work. Some platforms cater to specific niches. Not all software is created equally, and you’ll need to ensure that the software of choice comes equipped with the features you need to complete your projects. For instance, in addition to common features like component placement systems, you may need more advanced features for intricate endeavors, such field-programmable gate array and schematic capture.