How (and when) to expand your laser engraving business

Tips and tricks on how to expand your laser engraving business

If you are here, on this article, I don't need to sell you the Laser Market anymore. You probably already know the wonders and struggles of working with a fast, efficient, and precise machine that gives you a whole universe of applications and design possibilities.  

The learning curve of modern Laser Engravers is fast, and software applications are complete and easy to use daily. Beyond that, the market for personalized custom products keeps growing year after year, and that is a tendency that is not going to stop anytime soon. 

If you're a sign maker, a customization specialist, or even an Etsy seller, once you get the hang of it and the wheel starts rolling, you may find yourself wishing you could do more. Struggling with larger projects or tight schedules can be very frustrating, and if that is the case, this is the place for you. Stick with me, and let's talk about growth.  

If at the end of this article you still have any doubts feel free to contact us and request a 30-minute talk with one of our specialists. We'll advise you free of charge. 

What limits your business?

The primary asset of your business is you. Especially talking about the early stages of a project when you probably will have few people around you to assist and help with the daily workflow. Your laser machine is the second most important asset for your laser engraving business.

You can only produce what the machine can handle in the time that you have at your disposal. As the business grows, it is customary to see yourself spending more and more time at the workshop, which can become overwhelming really fast. 

Other things may end up limiting the level of production of your business. Like:

Your equipment: Some laser machines have limitations on the size and material they can work with, which can lead to losing potential clients. Some machines also don't have functions like rotary, which makes engraving things like cups and bottles much more challenging. 

Consumables: Sometimes, a large order can arrive asking for many different colors of acrylic you need. You may have to refuse the job or increase the delivery time because of it. So try to keep at least a minimal stock of consumable materials in your workshop. 

Market Niche: Another thing that can limitate your business is your market niche. If you're making wedding invitations in a small town, you may have difficulty finding clients in the winter. Sometimes the market you chose doesn't need a larger supplier. 

But let's face it if you are reading this article, you're already thinking about growing. And if I have a little experience on this topic (what I do), the chance is that you're worried if you can handle the workload and the investment you need. And you're asking yourself, "is it the right time?"

Don't worry. You can run and expand your business and still have quality time with friends and family. You don't have to live at work to grow. 

But before talking about what you need to do to develop your business, let's check if you are already taking the best of what you have today. 

laser cutting wedding invitation

Before thinking about growth, think about honing your craft.

You can speed up your workflow and reach out to more clients and projects without changing a thing in your workshop by making a few adjustments to your laser engraving process. 

  • Have a sales funnel and a workflow to organize your demands and schedules. 
  • Maximize your Laser Production by making multiple engravings in one single batch.
  • Verify if the resolution of your projects is not too high and if you may lower it a little to increase your time without giving up on quality. 
  • Pre-engrave popular items. If you sell signs, for example, and have a catalog of options, the only difference being the text, you can engrave the most popular signs in advance and later engrave only the text you need. That guarantee you'll have a faster workflow.

Tried all that already? Okay, so let's move to the next topic. 

Okay, I have to expand my business. What should I do next?

Expand the variety or the size? That is the first question you should ask yourself. Are you growing because you want to increase your income and become a larger company, or are you growing out of necessity to handle the projects you already have? Let's talk about both possibilities. 

If you need variety, start by adding new products to your mix.

One thing you can start doing today is adding new products and services to your catalog. Check the market and the competition, and talk to your customers and friends. By increasing the options on your production, you may find yourself with many more orders.

Sell more to your existing customers.

Increasing your product options can also be a tool to reach out to past clients that already know and trust you and offer them new deals. If you make custom leather wallets and begin working on personalized watch straps, both products appeal to your client base. 

A new area means a new market and new clients.

Sometimes all you need to do is to look further. The Internet has made life easier when we think about selling to people in other cities or countries. Your public can be unrestrained by your neighborhood. But be careful. Expanding to other places may demand some studies on postal services and taxes. 

Upgrade your equipment

Last but not least, one of the most essential things to truly expand your laser engraving business is to upgrade your equipment. Like I said at the beginning of this article, the major asset of your company is you, and the second most important thing is your laser machine. And here is why I think you should always have a second laser engraver in the shop:

  • Backup: Laser machines have a consumable component, the Laser tubes. They stand for years, but sooner or later, you'll have to replace them. And also, keep in mind that problems may happen, and you may find yourself with a machine waiting for maintenance and a pile of delayed and canceled projects. Having a backup machine can avoid that. 
  • Have a more significant lifespan: All machines have a lifespan. Our laser machines are made with high-quality pieces and are built to last. Ask anyone who has a Trotec, and you'll hear that they withstand time as no other. But I strongly advise you to get your second machine at least five years after your first one. Technology is changing faster each year. Your new machine will probably be stronger, faster, and even more precise. And your old machine will be a perfect backup. 
  • The workload demands it: Two machines are equal to at least twice the production capacity. Depending on the equipment you choose, you can exponentially grow the number of engravings you can do in a workday and cut short your delivery time. That way, you can have more time for yourself and still grow your production and revenue. 
  • Bigger, better, faster, stronger: You can produce larger pieces with bigger machines. With Fiber and Flexx machines, you can work with almost every material. With more robust machines, you can cut materials faster and engrave deeper. Find yourself a machine that can take your business to another level.

Which machine is that?

Speedmarkers are specialized machines. While Speedys are versatile and limited only by their working area, the Speedmakers (Galvos) are limited by the size of their lenses, but in comparison, they are 50-100x faster than a regular gantry laser.

That makes applications like Deep Engraving and production-level annealing possible. Galvos also have a better rotary tool that can reach a wide variety of angles, making it possible to engrave in and out of rings and bracelets in the same batch. 

The Speedmarker software also has scripting options that can bring automation to your workflow, among many other features that only the Speedmarker software has. 

In general, this machine opens up an even wider range of possibilities and applications than just buying another gantry laser wouldn't bring you. So if you're aiming to open your possibilities and reach out to more customers and markets, the Speedmarker is the one to choose. 

Want to know more about how a Speedmarker can help you grow your laser engraving business? 

Request a presentation of the SpeedMarker series We'll be happy to help! 

Because individual requirements require individual advice.
We’ll advise you free of charge.

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