As creative problem solvers that analyze the world around them in order to come up with solutions, engineers undoubtedly make the world a better place to live in for everybody. Often, those who pursue this career path want to make a difference, and they do so by creating and designing products which transform society.
There are also forward-thinking engineers who don’t wish to work for someone else, and these are the ones who strike out and start an enterprise on their own. How they do this relies on specific elements, however, and these will be explored further below.
What is the role of engineers?
Engineers, whether it’s mechanical, technical, electrical, chemical, or another discipline, work tirelessly to solve a variety of problems in their chosen field. They do this by understanding and utilizing math and science to their advantage, and also by studying key STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.
The responsibilities of an engineer include:
- Finding and determining problems
- Conducting research into a problem
- Analyzing the research
- Finding solutions to the problem from the research gathered
- Designing/creating the solution
Having the right educational background
As a business-oriented entrepreneur looking to branch out into owning an engineering enterprise, you need to understand how the broad and the specific categories of engineering work. You also need to continue developing your skill sets in both particular areas of engineering and soft skills as a business owner.
Depending on the specialization of engineering that you are operating in, you should have the appropriate bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s as well. With higher education, you will continue fostering essential skills in the realm of research, design, development, and even manufacturing.
Luckily, there are academic institutions that allow you to get an engineering degree online so that you can work and learn at the same time. One example of this is the masters in electrical and computer engineering offered at Kettering University.
Outline your goals
Every business needs goals to continue to grow and succeed, and this too applies to your engineering enterprise. You should work towards:
1. Building a good team
Never assume that you can create anything on your own. You will need a team of knowledgeable engineers that are working for you to achieve any progress.
Your employees are the backbone of your operation and are the reason that you meet the goals that you set.
2. Solving some problem in society
There are already many established engineering organizations that are working towards remedying some problematic part of society.
Take the example of environmental engineering, and how they have developed better sewers, options for urban farming, biofiltration systems, hybrid vehicles, among countless other sustainable innovations that are geared towards improving the state of the environment.
Your enterprise needs a niche focus where you spend your time and resources.
Acquire funding for your business
To bring your business idea into fruition, you need to determine how you will fund it.
One of the most common methods includes building relationships with investors. To do this, you should find individuals that believe in your vision for the future and who want to help you succeed.
It is equally important that you keep any promises that you make, and demonstrate that you are a profitable enterprise, regardless of what your idea is.
Other options for funding include:
- Getting help from friends and family
- Taking out a loan from the bank
Invest in the necessary equipment
Engineers require a wide array of equipment for their projects, but depending on the sector, what you need will differ. What a chemical engineer requires will be different from an electrical engineer, for example.
For instance, you might need 3D printers, and considering that this is a company venture, owning only one will not be enough. You could use the funding you receive to purchase the best possible tools and materials.
Additionally, you may need to find manufacturers and other raw-material suppliers that can provide you with everything that you need in the first place.
Adapt in an ever-changing world
Are you adaptable as an entrepreneur? This is yet another attribute that will impact whether or not your engineering business is thriving.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing, and always make use of the resources and technology that you have at your disposal. Although engineering is an innovative profession, don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Always use what already exists on the market and optimize and develop structures so that they improve.
Network, network, and network
You can network by attending industry-relevant events that will benefit your company. You want to spread the word about who you are and what you do, after all. Create a website and focus on getting attention through a social media presence, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Don’t forget, you can learn from your competition’s mistakes. Rather than treating a competitor as an enemy, think about what you can learn from each other.
Networking will benefit every aspect of your venture, whether it’s relationships with investors, getting the equipment and tools you need, finding new clients, attracting skilled employees, and much more.
Unfortunately, your company will not explode overnight. It’s for this reason alone why perseverance is such a useful skillset to learn.
Even something as simple as quoting your first client for a project will not go according to plan at the start. With the right team at your side, and through some trial and error, your company will always progress forward, however.
No company was built overnight, and that is why strategic foresight is so critical. Before you delve into the details of your daily operations, you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What sector of engineering are you operating in? What are your goals and aspirations? How will you ensure that you achieve each one? These are the types of questions that must always be prevalent as an entrepreneur.
Give yourself time, and you will build up the engineering enterprise that you have always dreamed of.