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RE: NRTC: Can I Advertise?

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Bill,

Market research and presence on the ground more valuable than advertising,
which I think was otherwise presented in Stan Caldwell's list.  Otherwise
take the classic example comparing Coke and Pepsi. Pepsi can advertise all
it wants, but go into a store and will find Coke, not Pepsi: there being a
few countries with exceptions.

What are the unsatisfied demands in the local market place for which
civil/structural can provide solutions? Large variety of smaller projects,
which whilst they may be repetitive from this side of the equation, the
project is one-off and unique to the client. And small projects grow into
big projects. Help on small projects get called in on the larger projects.
But also as Stan pointed out have to get beyond the structural engineering
aspects. Planning, design and management aspects of engineering, are
important to many clients. So a sole practitioner may not have the resources
to handle a large scale project, but they can liaise between owner and the
big city consultants. As our clients say, we are user-friendly: the big
consultants, with their big offices, no car parking, and obstructive
receptionists and anything from 30 minutes to an hours drive away, depending
on time of day, are not friendly and often not interested in the work. They
also charge by the hour rather than for the perceived value of the work.

It is not advertising to take an interest in people and your and their
community, and/or their businesses. Admittedly first have to develop
contacts and reputation. But did mention, you operated a small business in
the past. So I guess it depends on whether shut it down completely whilst
went working on the big projects, or simply cut back on the work. So ramping
it back up depends on what relationships developed with your clients. If
clients see you as structural engineer, then if problem not structural they
will not contact you. If clients see you as general technical consultant,
then they will turn to you for guidance for being pointed in the right
direction to a specialist. Whilst discussing that issue can find out about
up and coming structural projects. Unless have so much regulation that all
businesses have the right people in the right job, with the right skills at
the right time. Typical small builder and manufacturer has anything but, and
with performance of GM neither do the worlds largest businesses.

Engineering (Design & management) is not that well meshed into industry, and
surprisingly lacking, so it does require a real effort to get it there.
Engineering is political. No point having a good idea if cannot be
implemented. Small builders and manufacturers tend to be open to changing
operations if they see benefit and is relatively easy to implement. It is a
matter of getting away from the immediate structural problem a business may
have, to discussing the surrounding issues. Often small businesses use crude
costing methods, which doesn't allow for comparison of alternative
solutions, so what they think is economical is actually more expensive
solution. Get them to refine their costing methods they see the cost
benefit. A matter of working with the people actually doing the construction
and fabrication work. A matter of doing something which maintains a line of
communication between you, the client and potential work. It may not be high
status work, but it doesn't seem to go away. And can always be ticking away
in the background, whilst away working on contract with the big consultants.



Or from an old SA joke, the other way to start a small business:

How do you start a small business?
Take a big business and move it to Victoria.



Regards
Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
mailto:sch.tectonic(--nospam--at)bigpond.com
Adelaide
South Australia


 



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