How To Start A 3d Printing Business

Start A 3d Printing Business

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When it comes to starting a 3d printing business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some big decisions.

You may be asking yourself:

  • What's the first step in establishing my business?
  • How much will it cost to start my 3d printing business?
  • How do I price my 3d printing business?
  • How do I market my 3d printing business?
  • ... so much more!

We walk you through all of the steps; from idea → starting → launching → growing → running your business.

The purpose of this guide is to act as an outline for the steps you'll need to take to get your business running successfully!

market size
$11.6B
avg revenue (monthly)
$256K
starting costs
$31.1K
gross margin
40%
time to build
8 months
average product price
$1
growth channels
Partnerships
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Quickbooks, Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
31 Pros & Cons
tips
7 Tips

💡 Introduction To Starting A 3d Printing Business

Is Starting A 3d Printing Business Right For You?

There are many factors to consider when starting a 3d printing business.

We put together the main pros and cons for you here:

Pros of starting a 3d printing business

• Flexibility

You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.

• Meaningful business connections

You never know who you will meet as a 3d printing business. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!

• High customer retention rates

Once a customer invests in your product, they've invested their time and energy to utilize your product/service which is highly valuable to them. Typically, your product or service becomes indispensable to your customer.

• Pick & choose the clients you work with

3d Printing Businesses have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!

• Unlimited income potential

With starting a 3d printing business there is no cap as to how much income you can make. The stronger your business skills and the more energy/time you put into your career, the more you'll make.

• Amazing perks and discounts

Working in the 3d printing business comes with its perks! As a seller for these products/services, you typically also get to enjoy industry perks and discounts.

• Predictable income stream

Your businesses income stream tends to be predictable based on the number of customers you have signed up. This makes financial planning and outlooks much more seamless!

• Higher likelihood of getting referrals

This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.

• Simple business model

A 3d printing business has the advantage of a simple business model, which makes launching and building the business more seamless.

• Greater Income Potential

With this business, the sky is the limit in regards to your income potential.

• You can decide who you work with

Gone are the days of working in a toxic work environment with employees that you may not vibe with. As a small business owner, you get to decide who you work and surround yourself with.

• You establish yourself as an expert

With starting a 3d printing business, you establish yourself as an expert in your niche, which builds your credibility. In return, customers are more likely to trust you and refer you to other friends and family.

• Can build solid foundation of clients

It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a 3d printing business. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.

• Low maintenance customers

In this industry, customers are known to be very appreciative and low maintenance. This can help with your stress levels and allow you to focus on growing your business.

• Results and revenue happen quickly!

Unlike other businesses, it can be relatively quick to start seeing results and revenue. As long as you follow all the steps to validate your idea before launch, you are likely to see quick results and ROI.

Cons of starting a 3d printing business

• Motivation of employees

If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.

• Longer Sales Process

A 3d printing business can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.

• Low margins

The gross margins for your 3d printing business are typically around 40%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.

• High employee turnover

In the 3d printing business, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.

• Taxes

As a 3d printing business, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.

• Niche Market

A niche business is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it can be the key to your success. However, it can be more challenging and time consuming to find the perfect niche market and target audience.

• High overhead expenses

With starting a 3d printing business, there are overhead expenses that come with selling a physical product. You will want to make sure you strategically budget for these overhead costs. We discuss this more in the startup costs section below.

• Churn

In this business, customers can cancel their membership or subscription for your services - which can make revenue forecasting challenging and unpredictable. It's important to focus on your churn rates and trends so that you can prevent this as much as possible.

• Time commitment

With starting a 3d printing business, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.

• Difficult to build trust with your customer

With starting a 3d printing business, there can be minimal face-to-face interaction, which means it can be a lot more difficult to establish trust with your customers. You'll need to go the extra mile with your customer to grab their attention and business.

• Impatient customers

You may offer an engaging user experience for your customer, but customers expect a lot and may be impatient if they aren't pleased with your product or service.

• Difficult to scale

With a 3d printing business, it can be challenging to find ways to scale. Check out this article that discusses scaling your business and the challenges that come with it.

• Learning Curve

When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.

• Equipment Breakdowns

Over the years, your equipment can get damaged, break down, and may need repairs which can be expensive. It's important you prepare for these expenses and try to avoid damages/wear & tear as much as possible.

• Technical issues can be frustrating

Technical issues are common in this business. If you struggle with the technical side of things, you may want to consider outsourcing this responsibility to save yourself the time and frustration.

• More challenging to earn passive income

It can be more of a challenge to make passive income in this business. Often times, the amount of revenue you bring in is limited by the amount of time you have in the day.

Players

Big Players

Small Players

Search Interest

Let's take a look at the search trends for 3d printing over the last year:

How To Name Your 3d Printing Business

It's important to find a catchy name for your 3d printing business so that you can stand out in your space.

Here are some general tips to consider when naming your 3d printing business

  • Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
  • Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
  • Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
  • As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!

Why is naming your 3d printing business so important?

The name of your business will forever play a role in:

  • Your customers first impression
  • Your businesses identity
  • The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
  • If you're memorable or not

It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your 3d printing business.

You can search domain availability here:

Find a domain starting at $0.88

powered by Namecheap

Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.

It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.

As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.

Here's some inspiration for naming your 3d printing business:

  • FinishedPrints check availability
  • The Public check availability
  • Qsar Spot check availability
  • Etchings Group check availability
  • Bloody Etchings Group check availability
  • Port-au-prince Prints check availability
  • Photographic Print Collective check availability
  • Amityville Place check availability
  • Original check availability
  • The Foot Photographs check availability
  • BlockPrints check availability
  • The Rare check availability
  • Century Black And White Collective check availability
  • Blue Photographic Print Trading Co check availability
  • Images Place check availability
  • Contemporary check availability
  • Publish Place check availability
  • Written Pro check availability
  • Floral check availability
  • Numerous Written Place check availability
  • WoodblockPrints check availability
  • The Woodblock Photographic Print check availability
  • Rinse Prints check availability
  • Mince Prints check availability
  • The Contemporary Engravings check availability
  • Enlarged check availability
  • Print Making Group check availability
  • Photographic Printings check availability
  • Old Black And White Trading Co check availability
  • The Contemporary check availability
  • Photographic Proofs check availability
  • Extant check availability
  • Black And White Spot check availability
  • Photographic Impress Spot check availability
  • Impress Place check availability
  • FingerPrints check availability
  • Colour Written Co check availability
  • DigitalPrints check availability
  • Bloody Print Making check availability
  • Finished check availability
  • Extant Written check availability
  • The French check availability
  • The Fresh check availability
  • The Finger Photographic Print check availability
  • Framed Engravings check availability
  • Hoof Reproductions check availability
  • Impress Group check availability
  • Cheap Publish Co check availability
  • Satirical Etchings Trading Co check availability
  • Woodblock Images Group check availability
  • Alexandrine Place check availability
  • Multiple Engravings check availability
  • Latent Publish Co check availability
  • Popular Photographs check availability
  • Off Impress Collective check availability
  • Daily Engravings check availability
  • Fresh Print Making Pro check availability
  • Alexandrine Spot check availability
  • Blue Photographic Print Co check availability
  • EnlargedPrints check availability
  • The Nautical check availability
  • Fresh Written check availability
  • Postage Place check availability
  • The Multiple Images check availability
  • Inch Photographs Pro check availability
  • Excellent Black And White Co check availability
  • Amorite Pro check availability
  • Bright Black And White Place check availability
  • Century Written Group check availability
  • Bloody Black And White Collective check availability
  • The Woodblock Etchings check availability
  • Old Black And White check availability
  • Bright Black And White Pro check availability
  • The Off Print Making check availability
  • Wet Photographic Print Group check availability
  • Hardcopy Group check availability
  • Synchronize Prototype check availability
  • The Divine Blueprint check availability
  • Level Manikin Collective check availability
  • The Able check availability
  • The Third Prototyping check availability
  • Final Hardcopy check availability
  • True Model Place check availability
  • The Final check availability
  • Rough Prototyping Place check availability
  • The Roman check availability
  • ContemporaryPrint check availability
  • The Above check availability
  • Ancient Mock check availability
  • Design Prototype check availability
  • Physical check availability
  • Possible Paradigm check availability
  • The Egyptian check availability
  • Pilot Collective check availability
  • Confidential Print Making check availability
  • Integrated Pilot Pro check availability
  • Red Print Making Spot check availability
  • Positive Printers check availability
  • Perfect Empirical Spot check availability
  • Modified Prototype check availability
  • The Global Simulation check availability
  • Blueprint Co check availability
  • The Detailed check availability
  • Quarrel Model check availability
  • Heavenly Prototyping check availability
  • FiniteModel check availability
  • The First check availability
  • ArchitecturalPrototype check availability
  • Composite Publish Trading Co check availability
  • Numerical Manakin Trading Co check availability
  • The Classic Epitome check availability
  • GlobalModel check availability
  • Greek check availability
  • Positive Printer check availability
  • Leopard Printers Trading Co check availability
  • Blueprint Pro check availability
  • RarePrint check availability
  • Primitive Preproduction check availability
  • Current Image Pro check availability
  • The Logistic check availability
  • Modelled Model check availability
  • Simulation Spot check availability
  • Causal Pattern Co check availability
  • MythicPrototype check availability
  • Final check availability

Read our full guide on naming your 3d printing business ➜

How To Create A Slogan For Your 3d Printing Business:

Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.

The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.

Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.

Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your 3d printing business:

1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words

A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.

2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different

There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:

  • Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
  • What problem do you solve?
  • How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
  • Do you make people more successful? How?

3. Be consistent

Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.

It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.

4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan

Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.

When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.

5. Consider your audience

When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.

It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.

6. Get feedback!

This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.

Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.

Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your 3d printing business:

Designed For 3 D, Engineered To Last.

Public Prints, We Take Care Of You!

Prints With Print

Think Different, Think 3 D.

Think Prints.

Site Of The Photographs

Lay Of The Barque

If You Can't Beat 3 D, Join 3 D.

Look, Ma, No 3 D!

Nothing Is Faster Than 3 D.

Photographic Photos, Glossy Reproductions

Black And White Is What We Do

Original Impress, Glossy Written

From Melanize To Achromatic

A 3 D A Day Helps You Work, Rest And Play.

Our 3 D Will Give You Softer Skin.

You Need A Prints.

Truly Prints.

Prints, Does The Job.

3 D, One For All.

🎬 How To Start A 3d Printing Business

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How Much Does It Cost To Start A 3d Printing Business

If you are planning to start a 3d printing business, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.

We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a 3d printing business and outline the costs you should expect for each:

  • The estimated minimum starting cost = $6,917
  • The estimated maximum starting cost = $55,280
Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a 3d printing business. Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs. Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.
Office Space Expenses
Rent: This refers to the office space you rent out for your business. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space. $0 $2,000
Utility Costs (office space): This refers to the first month's utility bill for your office space. If you are not responsible for this bill, this would not apply to starting your 3d printing business. $0 $150
Office Supplies: Although these may seem like minor costs, things like your desks, chairs, pens, paper, filing cabinets do add up. To avoid these adding up too much, try to be as lean as possible and go paperless! $25 $1,000
WiFi: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is an expense that's tough to avoid. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month! $10 $100
Total Office Space Expenses $35 (min) $3,250 (max)
Employee & Freelancer Expenses
Payroll: This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K. $0 $4,000
Other Employee Expenses: Aside from payroll and benefits, there are other costs associated with hiring employees. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any potential turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate. $0 $1,000
Employee Reward Ideas: It's important to recognize and reward employees - whether they hit their goals or are doing an exceptional job. This doesn't have to cost you a lot - simply taking them out to lunch, giving them a gift card or offering a pay-check bonus are all ways to recognize your employee! Here are 65 ways to reward your employees. $0 $500
Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses $0 (min) $5,500 (max)
Equipment & Supply Expenses
Technology Office Equipment: This includes (but is not limited to) physical items such as: laptops, cameras, monitors, microphones, speakers, headsets. Technology needs grow as your company evolves, so to minimize costs, try and only purchase what is needed for you to run your business at the time. $500 $5,000
Cleaning Supplies: To get started, you may want to consider getting basic cleaning supplies. Note, that you may not need to buy all the cleaning tools and supplies at first. You can consider purchasing in bulk down the road. $25 $500
Total Equipment & Supply Expenses $525 (min) $5,500 (max)
Website Costs
Website builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article. $15 $100
Web Design: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software. $200 $6,000
A Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website. $12 $200
Email hosting: Email is a critical piece for running your business. Once you have your domain name, you will want to set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are GSuite (typically starting at $6+ per user, per month) or Microsoft Office (typically starting at $5+ per user, per month). The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown. $5 $75
Server Hosting: To start your business, you will need to set up and manage a server. The cost for this is typically billed monthly and depends on the platform you choose (typically ranging anywhere from $0-$50/mo). $0 $50
Website chat function: If customer service is a big piece of your business, you will want to consider implementing a chat bot on your website. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and some businesses even offer freemium services. To find what chat software is best for your business, check out this guide. $0 $75
Total Website Costs $232 (min) $6,500 (max)
Business Formation Fees
Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here. $500 $2,000
Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your 3d printing business. $50 $700
Trademarking: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700). $0 $700
Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses. $0 $1,500
A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO. $5,000 $15,000
Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business. $50 $500
Total Business Formation Fees $5,600 (min) $20,400 (max)
Inventory Expenses
Upfront Costs For Inventory: This includes all upfront inventory you will need in order to launch. Be sure to compare prices of wholesalers to ensure you're getting the best deal and margins remain high. $300 $5,000
Total Inventory Expenses $300 (min) $5,000 (max)
Software Expenses
Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo. $0 $50
Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here $0 $100
IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals. $150 $2,000
Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses. $0 $50
CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software is used to track your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your 3d printing business, implementing this in the beginning may set your business up for success and save you a lot of time later on. For a full list of best CRMs to use for your business, check out the full list here. $0 $250
Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here. $0 $25
Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms. $0 $20
Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your 3d printing business, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business. $0 $50
Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses! $0 $200
Online data storage: It's important to make sure the information for your 3d printing business is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article. $0 $299
Total Software Expenses $150 (min) $3,044 (max)
Advertising & Marketing Costs
Business Cards: A 3d printing business involves quite a bit of customer interaction, whether that is attending tradeshows, sales calls or simply having face to face interaction with prospective clients. Business cards are a great way to stay front of mind with your clients. $0 $50
Customer Research & Surveys: Many 3d printing business's conduct industry and consumer research prior to starting their business. Often times, you need to pay for this data or hire a market research firm to help you in this process. $0 $300
Business Signage: Business signs let people know they're in the right place and are one of the first impressions your customer will have of your business.The cost for signage depends on a variety of elements:- material- size- number of colors- durability- installation and laborThere are plenty of design tools and software to create your own signs, or you can hire a sign business to do this for you. $75 $2,486
Direct Campaigns, Printing and Mailing: Although it may sound old-school, traditional marketing methods can be a cost-effective way to drive awareness for your brand. This includes flyers, postcards, sales letters, coupons, special offers, catalogs and brochures. $0 $300
Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: If you want to increase revenue for your 3d printing business, affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your product to a new audience. When determining affiliate commission rates you will offer, you will want to take into account the price and margin for your product to ensure affiliate marketing is worth it for your business. According to Monitor Backlinks, the average affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5% to 30%. To learn more about how to set commission rates, check out this article.. $0 $250
Influencer Marketing: Partnering with like-minded influencers is one of the most effective ways to grow your social media presence. Many small businesses simply gift a free item in exchange for an influencer post, or pay the influencer directly. $0 $750
Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid). $0 $500
Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns. $0 $300
Facebook & Instagram Ads: With Facebook and Instagram ads, you set your budget and pay for the actions you want (whether that be impressions, conversions, etc).You can learn more about pricing based on your impressions here. $0 $350
Total Advertising & Marketing Costs $75 (min) $5,286 (max)
Other Expenses
Credit Card Processing Fees: If you process credit cards then you will need to deal with interchange fees - which is usually around 3% of total charges. These fees are often forgotten about and can hurt cash flow if not taken into account. $0 $300
Time!: Time is money! When starting a business, think about how much time you are spending on certain tasks that could be delegated to another team member or automated. Additionally, spending too much time on tasks that aren't associated with revenue is a hidden cost of running a business. $0 $500
Total Other Expenses $0 (min) $800 (max)
Total Starting Costs $6,917 (min) $55,280 (max)

Raising Money For Your 3d Printing Business

Here are the most common ways to raise money for your 3d printing business:

Bootstrapping

You may not need funding for your 3d printing business.

In fact, many entrepreneurs take this approach when starting their own business, whether they have a little amount of cash or a substantial amount to get started.

So what exactly does the term "bootstrapping" mean?

This method essentially refers to self-funding your businesswithout external help or capital and reinvesting your earnings back into the business**

Bootstrapping means building your company from the ground up with your own, or your loved ones, personal savings and reinvesting all earnings back into the business

Here are some tips to consider when bootstrapping your business:

  • Use your savings as your capital - one of the best ways to bootstrap your business is to collect your savings and use them as startup capital. This will also help you avoid using your personal or business credit cards when getting started.
  • Determine exactly how much capital you need and how much capital you have to get your business off the ground. Generally, when bootstrapping your business, you may want to consider starting a business that involves less startup capital.
  • Consider starting a business that will generate immediate returns so you can put money back into the business
  • Be as lean as possible - this refers to cutting down expenses as much as possible, such as payroll, fancy software tools, unnecessary travel, renting an office, etc
  • Consider outsourcing instead of hiring - in the beginning, you may not need to hire someone permanently to help run your business. It tends to be much less expensive to outsource work to a freelancer and hire someone permanently down the road!

Want to learn more about bootstrapping your business? Check out this article

Business Accelerator

Accelerators are organizations that offer a range of support and funding opportunities for startups.

Typically, this means they help enroll startups in programs that offer mentorship, office space, and resources to grow the business.

These programs are typically 3-4 months and involve intense education and mentorship - most importantly, the startups also offered capital and investment in return for equity.

Here are some of the most popular and well-known startup accelerators in the U.S:

Here are some tips on how to get into an accelerator program:

  • Have an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) in place
  • Make sure you have actual customers and an overview of how your business is doing (revenue, site traffic, growth metrics)
  • Build a team
  • Crush your interview - this is a critical piece in the process. Know your business and metrics inside out and most importantly, be able to portray what makes it so unique.

VC Funding

VC funding is a traditional and long process, but an effective way to raise money for your business.

The term "VC funding" refers to venture capital firms investing in businesses in exchange for equity.

The VC's (venture capitalists) are an individual or small group investing in your business and typically require substantial ownership of the business, with the hope of seeing a return on their investment.

VC's are typically the best approach for businesses with high startup costs - where it would be very difficult to raise the money on your own or through a loan.

When deciding whether to take this approach, it's important that you have a few things in place first, and know what you're getting yourself into:

Determine if your business is ready

Having an idea is not enough to get VC funding.

Typically, VC's will check to make sure you have these things in place prior to closing any deal:

  • An MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
  • A founding team with all proper documents in place (articles of organization, business formation)
  • A validated idea with actual customers buying your product/service

Get everything in place and build a pitch deck

A VC individual or firm will be expecting a fine-tuned presentation that gives an overview of your business.

Here's what you should consider including in your pitch deck:

  • Management team, their previous experience + current roles in the business
  • Market challenge and solution
  • Company financials - including a P&L statement, cash flow statement, and projections
  • Company progress
  • Investment amount - how much do you need and why?

Research the right VC to fund your business

Research the types of VC investors out there and what niche they focus on.

Then, put together a list of target VC's you want to approach and your strategy around setting up meetings.

Be sure you have everything in place (as discussed above) before setting up any meeting!

Make sure the terms and expectations are right for your business

Committing to VC funding is a big deal and a decision that should not be made lightly.

Although the money and experience from VC's can help your business quickly grow, you are also giving away a stake in the company, and the money comes with strings attached.

Be sure you do your due diligence in finding the right investor - one that truly believes in the growth and success of your business.

Crowdfunding

For your 3d printing business, a common way to raise money is through crowdfunding.

So, what does it mean to crowdfund your small business?

Crowdfunding refers to funding a project through many individual investors.

Here are some items to keep in mind when planning your campaign:

  • Sell more than just your product. Sell your passion, your vision, and your story.
  • Be real. Give your community honest details about your product.
  • Treat your audience as your friends (not just potential customers)
  • Put together a great presentation - it will attract people quicker.

To launch a successful crowdfunding campaign, you first need to select the type of crowdfunding platform to host your campaign.

Here are the most popular crowdfunding platforms to raise money on:

Kickstarter

Funding platform for creative projects.

Businesses using Kickstarter:

51 successful businesses are using Kickstarter ➜

Get Kickstarter ➜

Indiegogo

Crowdfunding platform for innovations in tech and design.

Businesses using Indiegogo:

19 successful businesses are using Indiegogo ➜

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Get Indiegogo ➜

StartEngine

Crowdfunding platform that has helped more than 350 companies raise $175M+ from a community of over 250,000 prospective investors.

Businesses using StartEngine:

1 successful business is using StartEngine ➜

Get StartEngine ➜

We connected with one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns, Photobooth Supply Co, and asked founder, Brandon Wong to give us some insight on his strategy:

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Product first, campaign second

So with all of those positive benefits of the platform figured out, we wanted to make sure we had the product itself in the right place before we launched.

We’ve been working on Salsa for a long time now and wouldn’t have felt comfortable revealing the ability to pay for it until we hit a very important milestone. We had a final prototype.

Doing all of the sourcing and actual production is secondary—there was absolutely no way we could have gone public without people being able to see real photos (and touch in person) a functioning prototype.

This meant that we had to do all of the development before we ever saw a cent.

Finding backers in the real world

We launched the product at our annual Booth Summit, which is a convention for photobooth owners to get together and learn from experts in the field. Launching a product in a receptive environment is generally considered to be a good idea. The same was definitely true for us!

We had a crowd of people who had just told us they were dedicated to growing their business… and we had the chance to offer them a way to do just that. I really can’t emphasize enough how important it is to make products that matter for people who will care about them.

This opportunity to see the product in real life was an essential component for our launch, but it might not be the same for you. I think it just shows how essential having a great prototype is. People love to touch and feel what they’re buying, if you’re talking about something physical… you should be able to show a prototype before you ask for money.

Building excitement with even the smallest backers.

We knew that we wanted to have a ton of incentives for early backers so that they’d be rewarded for taking a leap of faith on a new photobooth.

We’re obviously not making a whole lot of money on that first $1999 tier. But it enabled people to be part of something fun.

Every $1999 backer is always going to be able to say, not just that they got a great deal, but that they were one of the first to get on board. It means a lot more than a discount code expiring—just look at how frustrated people are on Twitter when a limited stock of rewards is secretly gobbled up.

Kickstarter doesn’t reveal the names of backers, but it humanizes them. And it just adds to the fun of getting your own spot! Even for someone backing now, they’re able to say that they were an early adopter.

Delivering on our promise

One of the most common critiques of Kickstarter items is that they either never show up or that they take years. I wanted to make sure that our timeline was easy to deliver and also reasonable.

Nobody deserves to wait two years for your product after they pay for it. I felt like we needed to offer a much quicker turnaround than that. We launched on Black Friday 2018 with an estimated delivery of April 2019.

That’s under 6 months and much lower than the average Kickstarter! The most important thing is that we will be able to meet that timeline. You can’t go around promising delivery dates and missing them, this isn’t a consumer product.

Anytime you’re working with the events industry you have to be very transparent and up front about timelines. A bride who books a photobooth needs it to show up on her wedding day. It’s non-negotiable!

-  
Brandon Wong, on starting Photobooth Supply Co. ($300,000/month) full story ➜

What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A 3d Printing Business?

As a 3d printing business, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.

Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:

Self Motivation Skills

Self motivation and discipline skills are critical in order to become successful in this field.

It's likely that you will find yourself starting and running your 3d printing business from home, which could mean there are more distractions for you.

Here are the basic skills needed for self motivation & discipline:

  • Becoming a self starter: It's important that you are capable of independently completing a task without the help or direction of anyone else
  • Listening and following directions: When you are given direction by others, it's critical that you are able to follow directions and ask the right questions in order to get your job done
  • Taking the initiative in problem solving: Instead of taking the easy route, you'll need to learn to troubleshoot issues on your own as much as possible.

Customer Service Skills

Friendly communication with customers and the ability to address service issues is a critical part of the job.

Here are some customer service skills you may want to consider prior to starting a 3d printing business:

  • Professionalism: The way you act, present yourself, and respond to situations all leave an impression on your customer. It's important to stay professional at all times when handling customer requests or issues.
  • Problem-solving: When issues arise, it's important that you are able to think quick on your feet and address the situation with a calm and clear solution
  • Friendly-manner: This is an obvious one, but customers truly appreciate someone that can respond in a quick, efficient, and friendly manner.
  • Proficient in writing: These skills include the ability to write well-crafted emails, service tickets, and any other programs used by the business (ie. chat functions, SMS texting)

Business Savvy Skills

When starting a 3d printing business, there are a few fundamental business skills you will want to learn in order to be successful:

  • Leadership and training skills: A great team starts with YOU. Make sure you have all company policies and training procedures in place prior to hiring your team
  • Decisive and self-confident: Over the course of your career, you will need decisions that could impact your business significantly. It's important you are able to think clearly and rationally about these decisions.
  • Ability to understand the financials: You don't need to be an accountant, but it is important that you are able to clearly understand and define metrics such as expenses, revenue, profit, margins, COGS, etc.
  • Strategic Thinking: Setting clear goals and benchmarks, identifying opportunities, risks. Ability to effectively communicate these insights to your team.

These are a few of many business savvy skills you should have (or work on) when starting a 3d printing business.

For a full list, check out this article here.

Design Skills

Whether you are the one designing the product or the decision-maker for the product, an eye for design is critical when starting a 3d printing business. Here's what this looks like:

  • Creative Thinking - the ability to develop or design different products or ideas
  • Visualization - being able to imagine or visualize how the product will look
  • Articulation - the ability to communicate what the design will look like and how it will be executed
  • Detail-oriented - paying close attention to all of the small pieces when designing or working on a project
  • Some technical skills - knowledge of the design software you are using to create the product or build prototypes.

Other skills that may be valuable to have when starting a 3d printing business include digital marketing skills, branding experience, and basic business knowledge.

Advice For Starting A 3d Printing Business

We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a 3d printing business:

Jeremy Simon, founder of 3D Universe, LLC ($300K/month):

A situation like this pandemic can cause significant difficulties for many businesses, but it can also create new opportunities.

Read the full interview ➜

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Jeremy Simon, founder of 3D Universe, LLC ($300K/month):

Avoid products where the manufacturer has lots of resellers drop-shipping their products. It’s hard to compete when nearly anyone can sell a product without having to keep it in inventory.

Read the full interview ➜

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Roy Kirchner, founder of Ultimate 3D Printing Store ($330K/month):

Make plans to do things as a family, and do your best not to let work interfere with those moments, but know that there are going to be times when you will have to sacrifice an outing, a dinner date, a holiday weekend.

Read the full interview ➜

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Ben Baltes, founder of Toybox ($200K/month):

It’s important to grow a thick skin and learn to never give up when the waves get rough.

Read the full interview ➜

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Braydon Moreno, founder of Robo 3D ($150K/month):

Never spend money starting by filing your business with the state, getting a trademark, etc etc. Stop with the easy tasks that make you "official." Start the business with getting a prototype made (if it’s a product) or customers (if it’s a service).

Read the full interview ➜

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Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your 3d printing business.

Why?

Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.

For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.

You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
  • Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
  • Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
  • Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
  • Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
  • Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
  • Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
  • Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
  • Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.

Learn more about how to write a business plan here

Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need

There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.

Here are some factors you may want to consider:

  • Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
  • Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
  • Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
  • Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
  • Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.

Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.

Setting Up Your 3d Printing Business (Formation and Legal)

When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.

The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.

These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.

  • LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
  • S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
  • C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.

Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.

Learn more about securing the right permits and licenses ➜

Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.

How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?

Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).

But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.

There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:

1. Owner's Draw

Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.

At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.

As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.

This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.

2. Salary

If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.

The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:

  • Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
  • Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
  • Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
  • Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
  • Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.

https://media.giphy.com/media/xT0xeLTRncS90ptpfi/giphy.gif

To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.

How To Price Your 3d Printing

One of the most challenging aspects to starting a 3d printing business is determining how much to charge for your 3d printing.

When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.

Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.

On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.

When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.

Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:

Understand your customer

It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:

  • Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
  • Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
  • Level of price sensitivity with your customer

All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.

Understand your costs

When pricing your 3d printing, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your 3d printing so you can factor in a profit.

The actual cost of your 3d printing may include things like:

  • The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
  • Shipping + overhead fees
  • Rent
  • Operating costs to run your business

You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.

Create revenue goals

When determining the price of your 3d printing, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your 3d printing business to make.

This process is simpler than you may think:

  1. Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
  2. Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
  3. Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
  4. Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell

This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.

Evaluate your competition

The last piece in determining how to price your 3d printing is by simply looking at your competition.

The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your 3d printing fits best in the marketplace.

All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your 3d printing, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.

Gross Margin Calculator: How to Calculate The Gross Margin For Your 3d Printing

Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.

The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand what is considered a healthy gross margin for your 3d printing business.

Calculate your gross margin and profit margin here.

What Type Of Customers Will Buy Your 3d Printing

It's important to first establish who you will be selling to, whether it's to businesses, consumers, or both!

Typically, in this industry, products are sold to both B2C markets and B2B markets

Let's break both of these down for your 3d printing business:

B2C

B2C (or business to consumer) is a transaction where businesses sell their products or services to the consumer directly.

In this market, consumer behavior is the primary driver for your business decisions - so it's important that you truly identify who your customer is, and what their buyer habits are when building your product/service.

The advantage

B2C is that you are able to cast a very wide net when targeting your customers. Your product may interest a large number of consumers or a specific niche.

The disadvantage

B2C is that consumers hold all the power - so if your website is not the most user friendly, or does not rank in the top search results on Google, chances are, your customer is going to shop elsewhere.

When building your 3d printing business for consumers, it's critical that you hone in on who your target audience is, and why they need your product over your competition.

B2B

B2B (or business to business) is a transaction where your 3d printing business sell's your product or service to other businesses to help them grow.

Business-to business industries typically includes SaaS products, B2B marketing firms, and other business supply companies.

Unlike B2C markets, the audience is not a consumer at all, but instead a business - so it's important to understand how to best market your product/services to that target audience.

With B2B, driving leads means understanding another company's business processes and creating a business strategy that will help their operation scale and grow.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Your main focus when selling to other businesses is showing value to their business and overall return on investment
  • Focus on building relationships, rather than extending your brand awareness through social networks.
  • Marketing approach should include things like attending conventions, conferences, and optimizing your online presence (SEO, email outreach, etc)
  • Understand that the sales process may mean more effort educating your client, so it's important that you have a well-trained sales team that is knowledgable about the product

Design A Prototype

Turning your idea into a reality can feel like a daunting task - but it's critical that you have an idea of what your product will look like (even if it's just a sketch) prior to finding a manufacturer.

Here are some common ways you can design your prototype:

  • Draw Your Initial Design on Paper
  • Form pieces of fabric together
  • Consider Taking A Generic Product And Putting Your Own Brand On It
  • Try Making the Product Yourself
  • Consider Building A Prototype With A 3D Printer

To learn more about how to design and prototype a product, check out our latest guide here.

Ben Baltes, founder of Toybox dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:

The process of building the product was brutal and we learned a lot of hard lessons along the way.

There were two major components to this product. First, was the hardware system that powered the product, and second was the software system that enabled kids to print thousands of toys and design their own - both were pretty massive feats of engineering and design.

Given that we were well versed in software and experience design, building the software system was relatively easy compared to the black box that hardware was. Don’t get me wrong, building the entire cloud operating system and bringing in thousands of toys and testing them was very very time consuming but the hardware design, was a whole different animal that we didn’t have the expertise for. We considered designing and building our own in-house because Zach (our CTO) and I had some experience prototyping some, but we quickly found out that product design, manufacturing, and supply chain setup would quickly cost half a million to a million dollars.

We only had $10,000 in the bank.

We realized there was no way in hell we could spend so much money on creating our own hardware, so I looked for reliable 3d printing companies and knew of one in the area. It was an (at the time) very hot 3d printing company, and I found the CEO’s email on an old message board.

Without any network to get in contact with him, I fired off a cold email explaining that I business proposition for him. To my surprise, he replied and invited me to come discuss it at his factory! As an entrepreneur, you often are throwing hail mary’s that never amount to anything, but sometimes they do and those are the ones that matter.

When I met with the CEO I was nervous, I had never done a deal like this before and I was practically shaking. But I was very impressed with his factory and the CEO’s attitude, and he surprisingly entered an agreement with me.

The agreement eventually never ended up panning out due to pricing issues and we ended up spending the better part of a year in-house designing hardware and looking for OEMs that could manufacture something reliable, inexpensive, and attractive. We tried everything to keep costs low. We 3d printed our original printers and even made versions out of CNC’d staircase wood bought from home depot to help automate production.

on-creating-a-3d-printer-and-creativity-platform-for-kids

on-creating-a-3d-printer-and-creativity-platform-for-kids

on-creating-a-3d-printer-and-creativity-platform-for-kids Three iterations of Toybox

In a way, we were spinning our wheels--we were making progress but we were so far from a production-ready version. But that bought us enough time to be contacted by an outside party about potentially being our OEM. The price was right, the hardware was attractive, and the quality was great- I was skeptical because of the luck involved with this interaction, but everything seemed to line up. At that point, We took the rest of our savings, bought as many base printers and components we could, and I assembled and soldered our custom pieces together on my living room floor to build the first 20 units.

Building the first 20 printers on the floor

-  
Ben Baltes, on starting Toybox ($200,000/month) full story ➜

🚀 How To Launch Your 3d Printing Business

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Build A Website

Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).

  1. Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
  2. Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
  3. Make sure you choose the right theme and design
  4. Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)

To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.

Web Design

Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.

Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.

One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.

If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.

Traditional Launch Strategies For Your 3d Printing Business:

There are various different ways you can launch your 3d printing business successfully.

Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your 3d printing business:

  • Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
  • Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
  • Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
  • Live sales to get customers excited
  • Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.

Ben Baltes, founder of Toybox dives deep into the process of launching the business:

Before we even had a product we tested the market pretty extensively. Not many people know this, but Toybox started from a string of projects that we had. We had witnessed people waste a lot of time building out previous products that sounded cool but had no market so we got in the habit of testing concepts with the market before we built them.

With Toybox, we created a website advertising a product that didn’t exist. It was complete with a checkout which opened a notification that said the printer wasn’t available for purchase. We did initial tests and we saw that people were coming to our website and clicking the button to purchase at pretty high rates. On top of that, a few publications somehow found us and we're writing about us. We even got our first cease and desist within 2 weeks. We figured this attention was a good sign and that we could make a splash.

At that point, I quit my job and we put all of our money into making prototypes, by the time we had one that we thought was ready. We did our big launch on the website. We were expecting to sell 50-100 given that our email list was about 400 people strong. We ended up selling two, one was outside the country and we couldn't ship to him, and the other was in New York. After about a year of hard work, we had one sale to show for it, it was humiliating and I felt absolutely crushed- I let myself down and the entire team.

Based on this experiment, we figured that selling online wasn’t going to work so we wrote a script to scrape yelp and email every toy store in the area to see if we could do a partnership and sell in their stores. We emailed about a hundred stores and two replied. I demoed to the first one and that fell through. The second toy store owner, when I demoed to him, the product demo didn’t even work - we had a bug that day that broke the printing system. It was embarrassing, but I think he felt bad and said he’d let us set up in the store to sell them whenever we wanted.

Me and my co-founder, Jenn, went to the store to sell printers every weekend for 6 weeks and didn’t sell a single one. It was humiliating, and I was embarrassed that the owner saw us fail so many times, but we kept trying. We tried switching up the story, we tried exaggerating about how many we sold, we tried time sensitivity, we even stacked up 20 empty boxes behind us to make it look like it was a high selling product, but nothing would sell. It was so confusing, we’d gather crowds, people would be very interested, they would say they wanted one, but no one would buy. We couldn’t believe it.

My co-founder Andy eventually flew down and came to sell printers with me one weekend. He was saying the same thing and confused we decided to do a sanity check. The total purchase price of the printer and materials to build the printers was $500. I wasn’t willing to go under that point because we’d be losing money, but as a sanity check, we decided to try $150. The very first person we talked to purchased the printer. Then we went up to $200 and sold another within 30 minutes. We finally went up to $300, and that's when people would think and purchase it. We knew we couldn't sell at scale and even break even at $150 or $200, but at $300 we might be able to. Even though we lost a lot of money and time that day we learned a couple of incredibly valuable lessons.

  1. Pricing and demand is not a linear function -- In fact, almost nothing regarding consumer behavior is. When the price is too high, it’s not that proportionally fewer people will buy the product. In fact, if the price is too high, almost NO-ONE will buy the product. (The same can be said about the threshold of quality on your web site, assets, and product, but that’s a different lesson altogether)
  2. We learned that at a certain price point, we could convince people to buy. That valuable lesson allowed us to negotiate rates with an anchor in mind. We knew what price to negotiate around, and that determined the quantity we needed to purchase. For us, that number was 1000 units in the first year.

We ended up working around that number, and a close friend and advisor of ours from Microsoft named Justin said he’d invest money into the startup if we sold 20 printers at the upcoming Makerfaire. We didn’t have much time before the show, so I bought 20 printers scheduled to arrive 3 days before Makerfaire to assemble. Then, when they arrived, we found out that the manufacturer changed the design on us without telling us, and the hardware would no longer work with our software. We now had 0 printers to sell for Makerfaire. I was f’ing livid, our future was riding on this and we were screwed 3 days before the show. I tried everything for 3 days straight to try to make the new system work but couldn’t.

Crushed again, we went to Makerfaire with the 3 demo units we had. But this time it was a splash. We had an agreement to sell printers so we didn’t let the setbacks stop us. We decided to try sell printers on preorder and we sold out of 20 units that on the first day of Makerfaire. It was an amazing relief and our advisor ended up closing the investment. Better yet, we got the interest of Kickstarter and Indiegogo and they encouraged us to run a campaign and gave us some sweet deals. We ended up taking all of our investment money and running a campaign. This yielded a decent Kickstarter (especially with the small amount of investment capital we had at the time). We shipped our first units on time, and people actually liked the product. It led to more and more sales and we learned a valuable lesson again:

  1. Push through the setbacks, they are going to happen ALL THE TIME and they literally don’t stop the larger you get. Learn to navigate and roll with the punches - most people give up way too easily.
  2. A hardcore focus on product quality leads to viral growth amongst customers. This is the best type of growth because it doesn’t cost extra money, in today’s environment with hyper-connectivity and competition in advertising channels, you absolutely need at least some virality.
  3. By having a great product, we actually became fairly close to our first customers. Those first customers became our investors for the next round of financing and we’re still very close to them today.

From there, linear increases in our advertising, pricing, the product have to lead to exponential results. We’ve learned how to sell online quite effectively and have been scaling that muscle with pretty high levels of growth - but it took relentless effort and a lot of brutal scars to figure this out.

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Ben Baltes, on starting Toybox ($200,000/month) full story ➜

Get Press Coverage For Your 3d Printing Business

The more buzz around your brand - the more the phones ring, the more traffic to your website, and the more customers as a result.

Here are a few ways you can get press for your business:

Press releases:

Press releases are a great way to share big announcements or news, but in order to get any traction, you'll need to find a way to make your press release stand out amongst others.

Try to convey a story that really matters, not just to you, but to the reporter and to their audience.

Here are some things to consider when submitting a press release:

  • Craft a catchy subject (keep it short and sweet).
  • Acknowledge the journalist's past work and interests - this is key!
  • Include the main point of the story in the first paragraph, heck, even the first sentence. Reporters want to hear the juice first and foremost.
  • Focus on the facts and try to limit the amount of jargon used.
  • Pitch yourself! Help them put a face to the story.
  • Make sure your topic is newsworthy. If it's not, find a way to!
  • Try not to include any attachments of your release!

Email is one of the most effective and preferred way to send your press release, so as long as you keep your pitch brief, interesting and personalized (no cold emails), you should stand a chance!

Get Press Using HARO

HARO, otherwise known as "Help a Reporter Out" is an outlet for journalists to source upcoming stories and opportunities for media coverage.

The best part is, HARO is free to use! There are, of course, premium versions you can purchase, but the free version is still an accessible way to get press.

Once you set up an account, HARO essentially will email you based on stories (that are relevant to you) that need to be covered where you will then have a chance to essentially "bid on the story."

Here are some tips when crafting your pitch:

  • Discuss your experience and expertise in the space. Make sure it's obvious why you're relevant to this story.
  • Answer the question in 3-4 sentences. Try and be as direct as possible
  • Offer to provide the reporter with more information and make sure to give them your contact info

Plan a Publicity Stunt

Planning a publicity stunt is an effective and quick way to raise awareness for your brand and gain some traction from the press.

If you're looking to plan a stunt, the objective should be to be bold and create something memorable

However, being bold has a fine line - it's important that you consider the timing of your stunt to ensure you don't come off insensitive or unethical. For example, timing may not be in your favor if you plan something during the general election, or in most recent cases, a global pandemic.

In order to measure the success of your stunt, it's important that you first determine your end goal, for example:

  • Is the stunt aimed to raise money for your business or a particular organization?
  • Is the stunt aimed to drive more traffic to your website?
  • Is the stunt aimed to get more followers and engagement on Instagram?

Here are a few tips for creating a great publicity stunt:

  • Research to ensure that there haven't been similar stunts done in the past by other businesses - this could easily turn off journalists and your audience.
  • Make sure you can explain the stunt in one headline - this will help grab the media's attention. In other words, simplify!
  • The stunt should be related to the product you are promoting. Even if the stunt is a success in terms of viewers, but it doesn't tie back to your original goal, then it's not useful.
  • Keep the stunt visual with videos/images.
  • Leverage the internet and social media platforms for your stunt by sharing your message across a variety of audiences. This will help with word of mouth and the overall success of your event.

To learn other strategies on how to get press, check out our full guide here.

🌱 How To Grow Your 3d Printing Business

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Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
  • Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
  • Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.

PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.

Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.

Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:

My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.

It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.

From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).

A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.

Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.

To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!

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Ryan Schortmann, on starting Display Pros ($30,000/month) full story ➜

Improve your SEO

SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."

Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your 3d printing business.

Publish Great Content

Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.

There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.

So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"

  • Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
  • Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
  • Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
  • Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
  • Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).

Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.

If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.

Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.

Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:

  • Trello
  • Airtable
  • If you prefer to keep it simple, your average spreadsheet is just as useful!

Backlinks

Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.

Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.

Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.

For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.

Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:

  • Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
  • Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
  • Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
  • Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
  • Leverage existing business relationships

Learn more about the fundamentals of SEO ➜ here and check out Neil Patel's 3 Powerful SEO Tips below

Build A Blog

One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.

We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:

Consistency and Quantity

Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.

What’s more important is consistency and quantity.

Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.

This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.

Oversaturation

The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.

This is nonsense.

There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.

For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.

You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.

Patience & Persistence

Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.

The only thing you have control over is your content.

You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.

So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.

Where to share your blog content

Mailing List

I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.

Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.

Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.

An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.

Reddit

Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.

It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.

Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:

Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn

Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.

Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.

Facebook Groups

When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.

Grow Your Email List

The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.

One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.

This could also be anything from:

  • Ebook
  • Fascinating case study
  • Video series
  • Free week of the product
  • Discount on the product

Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.

Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:

We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.

Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.

We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.

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Dylan Jacob, on starting BrüMate ($12,000,000/month) full story ➜

Add an exit-intent popup to your online store

A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.

Here's an example of what that might look like:

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One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.

That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.

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Steven Sashen, on starting Xero Shoes ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

Improve Your Email Marketing

Different types of emails

Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:

  • Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
  • Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
  • Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
  • Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
  • Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!

Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!

Abandonded Cart Flow

The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.

Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.

Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."

Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.

Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.

Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:

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Things they do well:

  • Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
  • Offer a small discount + free shipping
  • Great design + clear call to actions!

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to 3d printing business.

There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.

Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:

  • Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
  • Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
  • Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
  • Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
  • LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses

It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:

Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:

  • Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
  • Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
  • Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?

From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!

Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.

Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:

The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.

We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.

Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:

  • Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
  • Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
  • Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
  • Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
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Andy Hayes, on starting Plum Deluxe Tea ($75,000/month) full story ➜

🏃🏼‍♀️ How To Run Your 3d Printing Business

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How To Retain Customers For Your 3d Printing Business

Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your 3d printing business.

Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.

Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.

That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.

Here are some ways you can retain customers for your 3d printing business:

  • Responding to comments on social media
  • Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
  • Provide valuable content, for free
  • Write a hand written thank you note
  • Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers

To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here

Jeremy Simon, founder of 3D Universe, LLC dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:

Since our launch, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about picking the right products to generate maximum sales and profits.

First, avoid products where the manufacturer has lots of resellers drop-shipping their products. It’s hard to compete when nearly anyone can sell a product without having to keep it in inventory.

Second, try to find vendors with a strong product who don’t sell direct. It’s difficult to compete against the manufacturer of a product. Some vendors are 100% channel-driven, meaning they only sell their products through their authorized resellers. This is the ideal kind of vendor to work with, as the vendor will usually help to generate sales opportunities for your company.

Of course, the ideal circumstance is being able to develop your own product - something unique in the marketplace. Having unique offerings found nowhere else is a great way to attract and retain customers.

Our business is focused entirely on selling products online, so almost our entire monthly advertising budget is directed to Google Ads, which we’ve found to be the most effective platform for bringing qualified customers to our website.

We've found Google Ads (formerly AdWords) to be an invaluable traffic source for new customer acquisition. Our successful campaigns are a mix of shopping and text ads. We've also had some success with remarketing. Our focus with paid traffic has always been on customers that are generally further along in the sales funnel. Thus, we target high-intention keywords. With every new text ad campaign, we'll experiment with between 5 to 8 variations of ad copy for several months, before cutting low-performers and spinning up new ones. For shopping campaigns, we wrote a custom app to ensure we had control over the product description and other facets of the user experience.

For ongoing maintenance, it's utterly essential to monitor performance on a regular basis. You'll need to watch CPC and ad spend relative to both attributable conversions and overall revenue. Because of the way they work, shopping campaigns require constant tuning with negative keywords. It's also important to remove products and keywords (for text ads) that may have a high CTR i.e. cost, but low ROI. Also, be wary of the the campaign-level settings suggested by Google Ads, especially location. As opposed to getting "everyone" to visit your site, focus your budget on people that are in your addressable market, and that indicate a strong interest in making a purchase.

We tried selling some of our products on Amazon, but it didn’t work well for us. Some of our product vendors don’t allow us to sell on Amazon. For the products we were able to list on Amazon, we found the process of managing orders and returns to be overly burdensome. In the end, we decided not to sell on Amazon and to just focus on directing traffic to our own site.

We have developed a strong email marketing list, and we send out emails to our customers with useful information about once a week. We also post regularly on our blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. YouTube videos have proven to be especially effective at driving additional traffic to our ecommerce site.

For example, when a new product launches, like the Ultimaker S5, we do a video introducing the product, and we embed this video on our product page and promote it through social media. Having the YouTube video link back to our shopping site helps increase organic traffic results also.

Another valuable lesson we’ve learned is the importance of targeting specific vertical markets. We’ve developed a strong reputation amongst educational organizations, and this continues to grow due to word-of-mouth referrals.

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Jeremy Simon, on starting 3D Universe, LLC ($300,000/month) full story ➜

Diversify Your Product Line

Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.

It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.

Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product

  • Meeting the needs of your customers
  • Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
  • Resistance to downturns/trends fading
  • Create new revenue streams

Provide Great Customer Service

Providing exceptional care and creating relationships with clients is a great way to build your reputation and retain customers.

Whether you are an online business or a physical business, it's highly important to communicate with customers and make them feel like they are the priority.

Just remember: customer service represents your brand, values, vision and YOU as a person.

Build a Referral Program

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.

A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.

A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.

Word of Mouth

The most tried and true way to grow a 3d printing business is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.

Why you should focus on word of mouth:

  • Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
  • 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
  • 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing

Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜

How To Crush The Sales Process For Your 3d Printing Business

You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.

Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.

Mike Korba, co-founder of User.Com walks us through the entire sales process and which teams are responsible for what:

User.com Sales Process

Each user and account is qualified with a specialist. For business leads, they are handled by the sales team, and if they are qualified we give them a demo, more than often at the end of their fourteen-day trial. If they’re happy they’ll add a payment, and get an account manager, so a customer support and success team who will help implement the solution and to use the technology.

Sometimes, users will convert naturally on their own, after using the freemium product and finding it to be something that they will find beneficial.

After they convert, we help with onboarding, give them some personalized tips for their specific business or industry to grow plus all kinds of support, for whatever they need - something we take huge pride in.

The team is right now more than 30 people, with more than half working on the IT and product side, and the rest are in three teams: Support, Marketing, and Sales who all work together very closely.

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Mike Korba, on starting User.com ($100,000/month) full story ➜

Resources

We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your 3d printing business.

Tools

Books

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