How do I grow a thermoplastic injection mold tooling business in a no-growth domestic manufacturing market?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.You sound discouraged with your "no growth domestic manufacturing market." Are you looking for a rationalization to give up? Sometimes giving up is the best thing. If you're considering it, read "The Dip," by Seth Godin. If you're not ready to give up, then start by taking a fresh look at your business. Why is the market shrinking? Or is it that the domestic manufacturers are shrinking because non-U.S. manufacturers are taking over. Why? Lower costs? Better technology? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I guess we know threats, given your message... at least you do. This is called SWOT and it helps stimulate strategic thinking. Get your people together and do it as brainstorming. Find out what's not working. Take a fresh look at your market. What's changed? Why? Talk to your customers; not just a poorly conceived survey, but on the phone, one on one, choose a few of your most important customers and talk to them about what they are doing to solve the problems you solve. What else is in the market? What do they want for the future. What's working? Where is the business going? How are people solving the problems that they used to solve with your product. Get inspired. How can you give your potential buyers more value? What can you do better than the competitors?What are the real benefits to the buyers? So what we're talking about is a business plan. Start from the bottom and work up. It's not about the document, it's about the process of discovering what should be the future of your business.