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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Merchandising. Once interviewed a gadget making company's president. He made up stories about the origin of every one of his thingies and put them on a tag attached to each item. Sold tons of Chinese made things that had amaricanized labels.
 

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Lots of good info for starting a business. But for me CNC is just a hobby. I realized that I could use one in the shop. With zero CNC experience I ordered an entry level 6040 from Ebay. It took 2 months to get it hooked up and cutting 3D relief items. Now I'm making all kinds of 3d reliefs. First pieces were pine. The type of wood makes a big difference in the quality. So now only cherry or walnut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
What did you do for a career?

Did you own and operate a cnc as a ful time business?
If you directed that question to me, I spent 38 years teaching marketing to eye doctors. Before that I was a journalist, and spent the last five years of that as a business writer and editor and interviews two business leaders per week on how they built their businesses. I have read marketing, business and even sales materials and applied them to the operating marketing/sales in a full system that I provided and taught to clients as a consultant and trainer.

I am also always seeing opportunities to make money in all kinds of disciplines. I've been a serious woodworker for about 15 years, but did DIY and home repairs and enhancements pretty much all my life. In writing the original post, and subsequent posts, I presented how I would make a more serious business with a CNC. It was offered in response to a number of posts by people who were thinking of starting a full time or even part time business with their machine.

As it turns out, reading here and on a facebook page for CNC, what I suggested is pretty much what the successful CNC owners were doing.

I am not the most skilled woodworker here by any means, but I try to post as a teacher, on topics about which I have experience. I also like to think through alternative ways to do things. I have a wonderfully complete shop, lots of tools and accessories, and that allows me to think of and try different ways of skinning that proverbial feline.

BTW Rebel, no offense taken with your question. It provided me with the opportunity to state why I've been an official contributor (before the software change) and why I pipe up so often. I am a teacher at heart, and I think from your posts that you are as well.
 

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We're just talking. Not trying to upset anyone. I once had a guy contact me in Woodnet.. He said he could tell me how to make a lot of money as a cabinet maker He was from Chicago, Illinois. I talked to the guy, but used none of his advice. He was successful in Chicago at he time. A lot of work was booming.

He no longer is in business. The industry boomed and then it collapsed.

I suggest to anyone. Start part time. Run as hard as you can as long as you can and hope you have a wife or husband that can support you when work gets slow....

I can tell you one thing. Hobbies aren't hobbies anymore when it's time to pay bills
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
,,,I suggest to anyone. Start part time. Run as hard as you can as long as you can and hope you have a wife or husband that can support you when work gets slow....
If you are actively marketing, your numbers should be fairly stable. Part time and full time are quite different. Running the machine is interesting, but someone has to sell something or you have a hobby. Unfortunately, most people have a complete misconception of selling. Today, the old idea of overcoming objections, of selling something to someone who really doesn't want it, is long gone.

The idea is to eliminate through marketing and communication, those who don't want stuff, and not to pester them by repeated, unwanted contact. You sift through the "no thanks" folks and occasionally, you run across someone who is looking for what you are offering. Sometimes it is because they have a client looking for something you could provide and they don't know where else to look, or you can deliver quickly, or you can consult on, or even supply, designs that translate to workable results. You don't know, but if you listen and ask questions rather than engage in a sales pitch, you will detect the interest and by asking further questions, you can figure out why they need help. If you can do it, are willing to handle their issue, then you are likely to have a customer's first order. Your service, assistance, support, and you produce good stuff, you are likely to get further orders. Price is rarely the big issue with good customers.

There's an old piece of wisdom in business. What do you do with a troublesome, bad client/customer? You replace the with good customers. Sometimes by saying no to rush rush jobs, no to low or slow pay customers and jobs, imposing extra charges for rush jobs, you can retrain them to be better customers. But you be reluctant to do that if you don't have a good customer to keep up your cash flow. That's why marketing is so important.

What to do with the mildly interested or the NOs? Ask permission to send them a little information. Send a page or two, one with pictures of your best work, the other a brief bit of information about what you do with phone number, email and an admonition to keep this handy in case they ever need what you do. Keep this informational, avoid selling language. If you use the phrase, "serve your needs," you'll be dismissed.
 

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You have to sell it even if there not interested today. Future buyers is the goal. No interest today could turn in a custoner in months or years. Being confident in your business means you know your pricing. You know what your selling and you know the competition.

Many just wants quotes to compare, but eventually could lead to some work
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
There is a wonderful little book for self published authors on how to sell lots of books and build an interested readership fairly quickly using email with an assist from social media. It is by far the most concise and worthwhile book on the topic I've ever found. It is titled "Your First 1,000 Copies."

Although for authors, it applies to almost any business. We used if for years to generate business ourselves, modified it only slightly to apply to our clients practices and a bit of it is in my suggestions for marketing. You use the emails to follow up and send a stream of useful information out to prospects who have signed up to read your email. The method fits the small CNC business to a T. It is inexpensive to maintain and allows you to present your current projects to new prospects. In a way, it allows you to let your prospects know how good you are, and at the same time caution them about picking just any provider when they could get your expert help and production.

The basic principles of marketing are very simple, even if some of the methods are arcane. You are looking to reveal people who want what you want to sell, and over time, to turn them into paying customers. Old sales methods focus on overcoming objections to get someone to buy. New methods focus on providing services and goods that people want, or will want, or preferably will want over and over again. If land a contract with a small, but expanding hotel chain to put their logo on every room number plaque on every door, then as they expand, so will your business with them. Once you have their logo scanned in, it's easy to fit on all kinds of additional signs, restroom plaques, signs for the hotel bar, laundry, etc. A B&B or large lodge in the mountains, near the sea or lake, or..., may never open another location, but they might well love the CNC themed signs with logo, and want them everywhere, indoors and out.

Finding these folks isn't all that difficult. Finding agencies that do branding for such chains is pretty easy as well. There are thousands of small agencies to be approached and if you talk branding using the CNC produced items, you may well reach them. If you help the get started by helping design and then provide a sample, they can pitch their client, and you may have a client. Designers, PR agents, art directors, in house agencies are all prospective clients, and it's not hard to reach them.

If anyone wants further discussion of their CNC marketing plans, I am happy to reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
When I want to know how to sell something I simply ask the people sellng it.
OK, fair enough. I prefer asking the people who are laying out the cash to buy it. Our consultation and training tab starts at $24K, up to $32K for additional services and programs. No one else "sells" anything like it, so the understanding and listening to the buyers is the key to staying in business nearly 40 years, and now, my daughter runs the show. We have a troubleshooting survey form that addresses almost every issue we've encountered over all those years. And we know how to resolve ever item on the list and have past clients who vouch for us.

When I mentioned small agencies, I remember a guy who supported our PR department at Kawasaki (motorcycles) when I was PR manager for that company. We had an open budget account to cover him and relied on him for backup and support. He would sometimes pop up with ideas and suggestions that set us off on a different course, including connecting us with a great photographer who didn't break our budget. In my business journalism days, I ran into and got helpful info from a number of small free-lance marketing and PR agencies and individuals.

Marketing and modern sales avoids the language of selling and the old nostrums: overcoming objections, ABC Always Be Closing, pressure. That faded out a long time ago. Good riddance.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Curious... how does one send a private message since the system changed for the "better"?
Click on your avatar in the top right and choose Conversations.

David
 
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