GUEST COLUMN: Help exists for small manufacturing startups.
A guest column, from Allison Allen of Medina, Ohio:
One of America’s economic strengths is the environment it creates for small business startups and growth in a wide variety of industries and sectors. Too often, investors and forecasters limit their idea of a small business to retail, restaurant and other boutique-like shops and traditional “mom and pop” operations—however, one of America’s most promising industries for the small business startup is the manufacturing industry.
The jobs and money that new manufacturing startups inject into the American economy can help heal the economy and prevent similar economic downfalls in the future. New manufacturing startups can attract population growth, generate new taxes and provide communities with a positive economic upswing. Grants are readily available in the U.S. from private individuals as well as the government and should be carefully researched by entrepreneurs as they prepare their budgets and costs of doing business.
In addition to grants, there are consortiums of mature business leaders that are available to mentor infant manufacturing companies and help shape growth based on their experiences. Organizations like MAGNET, the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network, provide support, consulting services, incubator offices with the goal of transforming the economy into a powerful, global player. As a young manufacturing company, partnering with consortiums and organizations like MAGNET can be a priceless investment and the difference between success and failure.
Dick Wilk, Founder of Refractory Specialties, Inc., comments, “As a young start-up we couldn’t deny the opportunity to birth a manufacturing facility in the USA. We are home-grown people that start businesses where we live. This is our home.” In the early, 1990’s Wilk and his team worked on their dream on the weekends from the back room of an old warehouse in addition to their regular full time jobs. Today, RSI and its sister companies are a $24 million business.
“We have benefited from the tax abatements provided by the communities our facilities reside in over the years," Wilk says. "The process is easy and allows us to expand our business without incurring additional property taxes.”
Many American entrepreneurs weigh the pros and cons of creating their business in the USA. In the end, many entrepreneurs want to build and grow their business right on American soil and leave a legacy for their product, their family and their country.
Of course, any small business startup is not without challenges. Breaking into established manufacturing niches can be difficult for new entrepreneurs to manage without careful planning and good networking. Additionally, fewer investors seek out manufacturing startups, which is especially problematic when it comes to collecting enough capital to invest in the costly manufacturing equipment, large facilities, and extensive distribution resources necessary to parts and commodity production.
Manufacturing is key in both domestic and international economic strength. In fact, this is the perfect era to start a small business in the United States due to several key factors. As the U.S. economy recovers from its recent stagnation, domestic production of commodities is essential. U.S. manufacturing startups:
• Create jobs,
• Provide supply for national and international distributors and assembly plants and,
• Ensures American money stays home instead of sending it overseas to large factories and foreign companies.
While there are hurdles to small business ownership, they are not insurmountable and can be managed with professional financial oversight and good research on market demands. Entrepreneurship requires dedication and motivation. While the challenges are very real, so is the personal reward of starting a small business in the United States. Manufacturing played a large role in the growth of the United States throughout history and continues to remain a critical part of our economy today.
Starting a new manufacturing business is a promising enterprise for both the entrepreneur and the American people—it encourages domestic production, creates jobs, and empowers the nation to put money behind its own products that are necessary here and abroad.
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