Do you want to start a 3D crystal engraving business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a 3D crystal engraving business with NO money and no experience. 3D crystal engraving which is also known as laser crystal, bubblegram or vitrography is a solid block of glass or transparent plastic that has been exposed to laser beams to generate three-dimensional designs inside.
People are now opting for 3D crystal engraving when it comes to engraving services because it is actually what is trendy in recent time. Although a small scale 3D crystal engraving company can be operated from home, especially if it is being managed by an individual, but it pays to operate from an office / production facility.
20 Steps to Starting a 3D Crystal Engraving Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
3D crystal engraving services is a niche idea under the Engraving Services industry and companies in this industry basically engraves designs, numbers or text on a broad range of surfaces (e.g. plaques, jerseys, trophies, invitations, firearms, electronics, laptops and industrial ID tags et al) for consumers and businesses.
Their services include laser engraving, reverse engraving and other engraving techniques that is applicable to the materials they want to work with. In the united states, per capita disposable income has increased steadily in the last five years, many thanks to increase in employment.
The truth is that as disposable income increased, consumers have been more willing to increase spending on discretionary services. Going forward, revenue is expected to continue to increase. Manufacturing output will continue to increase, which will inspire demand from consumer product and material processing companies.
The Engraving Services industry that 3D crystal engraving services business is a part of is indeed a very large industry and pretty much active in all the parts of the world.
Statistics has it that In the united states of America alone, there are about 501 registered engraving services(3D crystal engraving services companies inclusive) responsible for employing about 4,987 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $1 billion and the industry was projected to grow at -1.0 percent annually between 2014 and 2019.
No company can boast of having a lion share of the available market in the industry. The industry is open for fair competition. A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Engraving Services industry exhibits low barriers to entry.
The report shows that the industry is highly fragmented, due to being comprised of small engraving companies that cater to a market niche of consumers, such as consumers that want to personalize their items with monograms.
As a result, new industry entrants face low barriers to entry, due to being able to cater to demand from a plethora of markets, such as medical device manufacturers that require engravings, such as bar codes and product serial numbers.
According to Epilog Laser, the capital outlay required to enter the Engraving Services industry is low, with new companies only requiring about $8,000 in capital expenditures. Basically, engraving service cum monograming companies only require a laser, computer and graphic software.
The engraving services industry cum 3D crystal engraving services business will continue to blossom because more and more individuals, businesses and corporate organizations are beginning to realize that somehow, they would need the services of 3D crystal engraving services. From all available statistics, it is safer to say that the industry is growing steadily despite the competitive nature of the industry.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own 3D crystal engraving services company could be that the business is easy to set up and the startup capital is indeed affordable; you can actually start your own 3D crystal engraving services business from the comfort of your house. All you need to do is to create an office somewhere in your house.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographics composition of those who require the services of 3D engraving is not restricted to individuals and those who are into the sale of customized souvenirs, but also corporate organizations, businesses, religious organizations, government agencies, political parties, NGOs and event organizers.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your 3D crystal engraving services company, then you should make it all encompassing.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there is no niche idea with the 3D crystal engraving business. This is because 3D crystal engraving services is a niche idea within the engraving services industry.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The level of competition in the engraving industry to some extent depends the location of the business and of course the area of specialization. If you can successfully create a unique concept and design for your 3D crystal engraving business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only 3D crystal engraving services company that specializes in converting a standard 2D photo into a 3D crystal and precious metals in your location, you are sure of monopolizing that aspect of the business; your competitors can even sub – contract jobs to you to help them deliver.
But over and above, there are several 3D crystal engraving services companies scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own company, then you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst these companies.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands who perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than the others. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they treat their customers.
These are some of the leading engraving and 3D crystal engraving services companies in the United States of America and in the globe;
- ArtPix 3D
- TYKMA Electrox
- 3D Laser Gifts
- 3D Crystal USA
- Crystal Classics
- Knoxville Monogramming, Embroidery, Engraving & Personalized Services
- Pottery Barn
- Newing-Hall Engravers
- Inspirations – Engraving – Waterford®
- Tiffany & Co.
- Laser Engraving LLC
- Advanced Graphic Engraving, LLC
Engraving and 3D crystal engraving services business is not an entirely new business concept, as a matter of fact, you will come across several engraving companies when sourcing for a place to engrave your items.
So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required equipment needed to successfully run the business and of course the profitability of the business in the location you want to pitch your business tent.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a 3D crystal engraving services company, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of an engraving business to buy. Besides starting a 3D crystal engraving services company from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small – scale businesses.
With 3D crystal engraving services business, you should just try as much as possible to secure an office cum production facility that is close to a major road and then leverage on every marketing tools within your disposal especially the internet when it comes to marketing your services.
Please note that most of the successful engraving companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own 3D crystal engraving services business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established engraving companies who are offering same services that you intend offering. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on startups and individuals in your community who can’t afford the high – end fees charged by these companies.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face are economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. There is nothing you can do as regard these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Generally, you can either choose a general partnership, Limited Liability Company, or a sole proprietorship for your 3D crystal engraving services company. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale 3D crystal engraving services business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your 3D crystal engraving services business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to study the various legal entity to use for your 3D crystal engraving services business stores with the ability to take on the international market, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your 3D crystal engraving services business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own 3D crystal engraving services company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Deb Rosen® 3D Crystal Engraving Services, Inc
- Terry Pee® 3D Crystal Engraving Services Company
- Ray Hopewell®3D Crystal Engraving Services, Inc.
- Rainbow™ 3D Crystal Engraving Services company
- Charly Allison® 3D Crystal Engraving Services, LLC.
- Horizon International™ 3D Crystal Engraving Services company
- Joe Boaz and Sons 3D Crystal Engraving Services Ltd.
- Street Corner™ 3D Crystal Engraving Services Company
- The Edge™ 3D Crystal Engraving Services Company
- Yodel Couture® 3D Crystal Engraving Services, Ltd.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your 3D crystal engraving company.
Here are some of the basic insurance cover that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own engraving and 3D crystal engraving services company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own engraving company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software and designs that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to engraving, embroidery and monogramming services business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start the business. All you need is informal training that will give you the needed skills coupled with your own inbuilt artistic talents.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can help you with your 3D crystal engraving services business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own 3D crystal engraving services company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a 3D crystal engraving services company can be cost effective especially if you choose to run the business from your home, share office space with a friend or make use of virtual office. Securing a standard office/production facility, equipment and supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your 3D crystal engraving services company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your 3D crystal engraving services company, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such services. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your 3D crystal engraving company, it will give people easy access to your facility.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your 3D crystal engraving services company;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for 3D crystal engraving services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of engraving and 3D crystal engraving services companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to technicality, basically, engraving companies only require affordable laser engravers / laser engraving machines, computer and graphic software and social media management software applications et al. You will also need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the 3D crystal engraving services company you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard 3D crystal engraving services company, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to employ to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. On the average, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or President (you can occupy this role), an Admin and Human Resource Manager, Creative Director, Accountant, Laser Engraving Machine Operators, Business Development Executive/marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer or Front Desk Officer.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 7 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard 3D crystal engraving services company.
The Services Delivery Process of the Business
On the average, the way 3D crystal engraving services companies work varies from one company to another company, but ideally, a 3D crystal engraving company is expected to first and foremost build a robust company’s profile before biding for contracts from clients.
On the average, the process starts with biding or submitting proposal for a 3D crystal engraving services contract, once the contract is won, then it is expected for all the contract document to be signed and advance payment made as required.
Once the payment has been sorted out, the next step is for the company to transport the items that are to be engraved to their production facility and get all the equipment and supplies required to execute the job.
Ideally, during the process, each point is created by a laser beam focused to high intensity at that location by a computer-controlled opto-mechanical system. A complex or highly detailed image occupying a 5 cm (2 inch) cubic volume typically requires the creation of tens of thousands of such points.
3D image may be created by intersecting laser beams in appropriately doped plastic to induce a chemical reaction via heat or photonic excitation, creating bubbles or nodes where the plastic has a different index of refraction.
If the project is completed as required, then the items are shipped / transported back to the clients and all outstanding payments are paid as agreed once the job are certified ok by the client.
Please not that if it is an individual or small business owner that wants his or her items to be engraved, the above stated business process will not be followed. They are expected to bring their items to the production facility, bargain, make payment as agreed and then take back their jobs once it is completed.
Lastly, it is important to state that a 3D crystal engraving services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated engraving business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
As a 3D crystal engraving services company, you would have to prove your worth before you can be awarded any contracts from high profile clients and corporate organization. So, if you have plans to start your own 3D crystal engraving services company, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the engraving cum 3D crystal engraving services industry.
People and organizations will hire your services to help them handle all their 3D crystal engraving jobs if they know that they are going to get the best. So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile and a rich catalogue of your previous job.
Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to 3D crystal engraving services and the organizations you have worked for. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for monograming and engraving jobs/contracts et al. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your 3D crystal engraving services;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure / catalogue to all the businesses and households in and around your target market location
- Promptness in bidding for 3D crystal engraving services contracts et al
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, radio and TV stations
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages
- Attend expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people who consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
The factors that will help you get the right pricing for your 3D crystal engraving services business is to source for cheaper raw materials, produce in large quantities, cut operational cost to the barest minimum, channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your 3D crystal engraving services company brand name.
Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, and get the right pricing for your products. You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost.
So also, if you are able to secure high volume 3D crystal engraving machines; machines that are efficient to run and maintain, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your 3D crystal engraving services company.
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The engraving cum 3D crystal engraving services industry is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative designs and strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of tackling challenges in the industry.
Another strategy that you can adopt is to ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and certified professionals in their chosen are of operations.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why clients source for alternative service provider or product is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to improve on the quality and designs of your 3D crystal engraving services jobs and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
If your intention of starting a 3D crystal engraving services company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your 3D crystal engraving services company;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business
- Install your Bill Boards on strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your 3D crystal engraving services company in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your 3D crystal engraving services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks are well branded with your company logo et al.